Nikorima reveals international dream
Jayden and Kodi Nikorima dream of one day gracing the same field for an Anzac Test, but they wouldn't be teammates.
While they might be brothers, the highly sought after pair have declared different national allegiances, with Kodi choosing to represent the Kiwis, while Jayden has a desire to play for the Kangaroos.
It's not a unique story, with Tariq Sims nominating NSW as his choice for State of Origin, while his younger brother Korbin has made it clear he wants to one day represent the Maroons.
Born in Palmerston North, the Nikorima siblings moved to Queensland at a young age, and have gone on to forge buddying careers in the NRL.
Kodi, the eldest Nikorima, decided from the outset that he wanted to play for the Kiwis; a dream he realised on the 2015 end of season tour to the UK.
Jayden, meanwhile, has taken a very different representative path. The Roosters young gun has already played for the Junior Kangaroos and the Queensland under-20s team, and dreams of one day taking on his older brother on the international stage; even if it's little more than a pipedream for now.
"We sort of moved over here at a young age and Kodi was a little bit older," Nikorima said when recalling his childhood.
"Growing up I was based in Brisbane while Kodi was flying back to New Zealand to visit family and that.
"I guess growing up in Brisbane and being around the Origin scene, you sort of learn to love it and I guess being from Queensland you just love beating NSW.
"I've had a few games at Schoolboys level and junior Origin – I actually played there against Jacko [Roosters teammate Jackson Hastings] – so the hunger to beat NSW is there."
Nikorima grew up idolising a number of Queenslanders as he watched the Maroons dominate the interstate rivalry over the years, but before your humble correspondent could even finish asking who his favourite player was, he blurted out one name.
"'Locky'. He's a freak. And he was a 'Brissy' boy too so watching him he was all class," an excited Nikorima said.
While the former Broncos NYC star can no longer work with Darren Lockyer, the Roosters No.6 has someone just as good in his ear; even if he does come from south of the border.
Nikorima says he is blessed to work with Blues legend Andrew Johns, telling NRL.com that the two-time premiership winning halfback was the best mentor he could have.
"The '8th' [in reference to Johns being named the game's 8th Immortal]. It's unbelievable to work with someone of his aura.
"He's all class and he's taught me heaps over the last few months. The way he moves around the field and gets to specific positions and his ability to defend his hips it's just unbelievable what his brain can do."
A points-scoring machine at the Broncos in the Holden Cup, Nikorima revealed he was forced to abandon his goal kicking at his new club after an injury setback, but would be happy to put his hand up for consideration if called upon.
"There were a few of us doing goal kicking throughout the pre-season, but I sort of hurt my groin so I stood down from the kicking duties,' he said.
"That allowed me to focus on my game and try to get better there. Once the injury goes I'll start training again and put my hand up if need be, but for now I'm just trying to find my feet in first grade."