Kodi Nikorima (centre) chimes in from fullback during Brisbane's training on Wednesday.
Kodi Nikorima (centre) chimes in from fullback during Brisbane's training on Wednesday. DAN PELED

Bennett drops selection bombshell

RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has pulled off a selection shock on the eve of the Bronco's clash against the Bulldogs, shifting young utility Kodi Nikorima to fullback.

Despite originally naming Souths Logan No.1 Jamayne Isaako in the position, on Wednesday Bennett revealed the diminutive Nikorima will instead assume the role against Canterbury.

Nikorima, who had been named on the bench, spent the entire captain's run training at fullback with Isaako playing opposite him in the reserve grade side.

Bennett said afterwards that while Isaako did nothing wrong in his debut last week against the Knights, he felt they needed to change tactics for the meeting with the Bulldogs.

"Kodi will play fullback. We want him to play there," Bennett said.

"He's played it at NRL (level) since I've been here. He's very capable. He can't bring any height but outside of that, just a bit of experience. (Jamayne) hasn't done anything wrong. Jamayne did a really good job (last week). I said that after the game, I told him that as well. But it's a different game and different circumstances."

Nikorima trained strongly Wednesday and also proved he was more than ready to handle any pressure under the high ball, catching a high kick with just one hand.

The move comes after the super sub extended his contract with the Broncos this week for another three years, with Bennett confirming Wednesday that Nikorima will be the club's halfback next season with current No.7 Ben Hunt to join St George Illawarra.

Isaako is expected to still be at Suncorp Stadium Thursday night as the side's 18th man, but will go back to reserve grade over the weekend, with Souths Logan to meet Tweed Heads in Julia Creek in north Queensland on Saturday as part of the Intrust Super Cup's Country Round.

News Corp Australia


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