Nikorima adamant future in halves despite stint at hooker

While he's happy to help fill the void at dummy-half right now, Warriors mid-season recruit Kodi Nikorima has insisted it's a short-term fix and he has no intention of making a permanent switch.

For the second week in a row Nikorima has been named to come off the bench, and against the Sharks on Saturday he is expected to share the dummy-half duties with returning veteran Issac Luke.

In Nikorima's preferred No.6 jersey coach Stephen Kearney has again preferred to run with impressive rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita.

Nikorima has played extensively at hooker for the Brisbane Broncos and Kiwis, and with Luke unlikely to be retained by the club and question marks remaining over the fitness of Nathaniel Roache, the Warriors have a need in that position for 2020.

But Nikorima said his goal remained to play in the halves, even if his recent demotion had been deserved.     

"Long term I see myself as a half, I think that's where I play my best footy," Nikorima said.

"I think I have said it before when I was playing at nine, that I'm happy to do a job there, but when I think of where I want to be long term and where I think I play my best footy, it would be in the halves.

"I deserved to drop back there [to the bench] and I guess just prove my worth and my fitness [right now].

"As long as I'm in the team somewhere that's the main thing at the moment."

After making a strong start to life with the Warriors after signing across from Brisbane in May, Nikorima has battled an ankle injury over the past month and had to watch on as Harris-Tavita unseated him as the club's first-choice five-eighth.

Kearney was this week coy on the future of that position and said it's a week-to-week decision right now.

"I haven’t thought past this week, to be honest," Kearney said.

"Kodi is getting over an ankle injury… during that time Chanel has been playing really good footy. That’s just the circumstance of the situation."

Harris-Tavita will earn his ninth career start on Saturday, lining up directly opposite his former mentor Shaun Johnson for the first time.

It continues a big month for the 20-year-old in which he has also come up against the incumbent Australian halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and his childhood idol Cooper Cronk.

"I played [Johnson] last time we played the Sharks in Wellington but I was playing hooker … it'll be good to go one-on-one with him in the halves," Harris-Tavita said.

"He taught me a few things when he was at the Warriors … I'm just grateful to have trained with him, and now play against him.

"The NRL is real exciting and every week is a different challenge.

"I'm playing against players who have played 200 games, like last week when I was playing against Cronk, he was probably one of my favourite players growing up so to play against him and be on the same field was a real privilege."

Kearney said he expects busted lock Jazz Tevaga to take the field against the Sharks, despite last week suffering a flare up of the ankle injury which has dogged him for most of the second half of the season.

"He trained really well [Wednesday]. It’s pretty hard to keep him out of a game of footy, so I’d say it’s pretty safe that he’s playing this week," Kearney said.