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Warriors keen on Nikorima if he exercises contract option

The Warriors have targeted Brisbane halfback Kodi Nikorima as a long-term playmaker and would be willing to accommodate the Kiwis halfback immediately if gains an early release.

Despite most believing that Nikorima is signed to the Broncos for 2020, he has an option in his favour for the final year of his contract and is effectively a free agent at the end of the season.

The New Zealand international had a similar clause in his previous contract with the Broncos and extended the deal for 2018 and 2019, with an option for 2020.

Nikorima was first linked to the Warriors after the club released his New Zealand halves partner Shaun Johnson to Cronulla last December but Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold told him he was part of the club’s plans for 2019.

However, the Warriors are again interested in Nikorima and are expected to table an offer that could result in the 24-year-old returning home to New Zealand within weeks.

Both the Broncos and Warriors are yet to make an official statement regarding Nikorima and it is understood the Broncos are yet to receive a formal offer.

Under NRL rules, the Warriors cannot approach Nikorima about an immediate move but he may seek a release from Brisbane if he signs a long-term deal with the Auckland-based club.

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Speaking on Monday, Warriors forward Isaiah Papali'i said he had enjoyed the time he'd spent with Nikorima in the New Zealand camp.

"He is a good player and I definitely enjoyed being out there with him for the time I did get to play with him," he said.

"He's an international player who has been around for a while. No matter what happens, I am happy with our halves and our team."

Nikorima has been in the Broncos system since he was 12-years-old and has played 86 NRL matches for the clubs.

He was the New Zealand halfback in last year's Tests against Australia and England and won man-of-the-match honours in the Kiwis 34-0 triumph at Elland Road last December.

However, Seibold last week indicated that 18-year-old halfback Tom Dearden was being groomed for a place in the halves after naming him in the club's extended 21-man squad for the first time.

Sean O'Sullivan is also considered another future halves option for the Broncos after joining the club from the Roosters this season.

The Warriors are desperately in need of an experienced playmaker after Johnson demanded an immediate release upon his return from the Kiwis tour to England.

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With Blake Green injured, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has had to resort to Gerard Beale, Peta Hiku and Tohu Harris playing out of position alongside rookie Chanel Harris-Tevita in the halves.

The Warriors have posted 24-20, 17-10 and 13-12 losses to South Sydney, North Queensland and Melbourne in their last three matches and it is felt that they could have won all three games if they had an experienced playmaker in their team.

Warriors utility back Gerard Beale said the Nikorima hadn't been widely discussed by the playing group.

"I know Kodi from the Kiwis, but I guess I just saw it on social media so I am not too sure what's happening," he said. 

"I know the rugby league world is a crazy world and anything can happen."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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