Nikorima back to spark Broncos' attack
The Brisbane Broncos have been bolstered for their clash against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night, with New Zealand international Kodi Nikorima returning to the side.
The 23-year-old will come off the bench, with up-and-coming lock Jai Arrow set to return the Intrust Super Cup after a solid start to the season.
Nikorima has not played in the NRL since the Broncos' 48-6 Round 16 loss to the Melbourne Storm last year – a staggering nine months ago.
He dislocated his shoulder twice in that match, missing the rest of the season after it was discovered he needed a shoulder reconstruction.
He's since returned to rugby league in the Intrust Super Cup, putting in a number of superb performances to help the Norths Devils charge up the ladder in 2017.
But the long road to recover appears to be now over for Nikorima, with Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett confirming the utility's return to the NRL.
"Kodi is in the 17. He's had a major operation so it's taken him some time to get back," Bennett said.
"He's had five weeks in the Intrust Super Cup so I think it's time to bring him back.
"He can play a lot of positions for us. He has great speed and really good initiative.
"It remains to be seen how we are going to use him but it's great to have him there."
The Broncos sit 14th for points scored this season after having struggled to take their chances in the first five games of the season.
Although Nikorima will not solve all of Brisbane's attacking issues, Bennett said his inclusion would provide a welcome spark off the bench.
"Kodi was a regular first-grader before he got injured. He's got a lot of confidence after a great stint in the Queensland Cup and he'll need that to play at this level," he said.
"We'd like more points but we can't be thinking we are going to score more points just because Kodi is there.
"In saying that, he brings a good attacking game. We just need to be in a good position to bring him into the game. "
The unlucky one in all of this is Arrow, with the 21-year-old being relegated to reserve grade after a number of pleasing performances.
But Arrow will get his chance again, with Bennett giving the future star a vote of confidence.
"Jai didn't really get dropped. He's been playing great for us," he said.
"We just wanted to bring Kodi in. Jai knows that.
"He'll be back and playing a lot more NRL this year."