In-demands Broncos utility Kodi Nikorima is facing a big decision at the end of this season but former Brisbane great Brent Tate has predicted a bright future wherever he ends up.
In this week’s special Anzac Day edition of Big League, Tate has highlighted the most exciting youngsters he believes are currently in the game and has included the 22-year-old Kiwi international in his list.
Currently averaging a tick under 30 minutes per game playing a hooker role off the bench for Brisbane, Nikorima is likely to have to look elsewhere when his current contract expires at the end of the season if he hopes to be a starting player in 2017.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has already issued a public plea for Nikorima to stay at least one more year in Brisbane with Tate in raptures about his development as a footballer in 2016.
"Nikorima has stepped up this season to become one of the most exciting youngsters in the game," Tate says in the Round 8 issue of Big League.
"The Brisbane utility has taken on more responsibility, backing his ability with kicks and runs at vital times. He has become confident in himself and is thriving thanks to his explosive running game.
"He has a big decision to make seeing as he is off-contract at season’s end. He’s been at the Broncos since he was a 13-year-old but may seek a change when his deal expires.
"Wherever he plays next season, expect him to go from strength-to-strength."
Another Kiwi for whom Tate is predicting big things is Panthers five-eighth Te Maire Martin, who has been named to play his sixth NRL game of the season against the Sharks on Sunday.
Recruited from the Wests Tigers over the off-season after a stellar junior career, Tate has seen enough to suggest that this is the player the Panthers can build a team around.
"Just look at his debut against Brisbane – he almost scored with his first touch, grabbed a late try and kicked the winning field goal against last year’s grand finalists. This Panthers youngster is skilful with a big future ahead of him," says Tate.
"Penrith can build their future on Martin if he continues to play the way he does.
"The 20-year-old has had the chance to play a handful of first grade games due to injury and was also named in the New Zealand training squad for their tour of Great Britain.
"Even though he didn’t play, the tour gave him experience and helped build his confidence for the NRL."
The Round 8 issue of Big League is on sale now from newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available via www.zinio.com.