Broncos rocked by Warriors poaching raid
The Warriors are targeting Kodi Nikorima to solve their playmaking crisis in a move that could end the Brisbane halfback's career at the Broncos within weeks.
The Courier-Mail understands the Warriors will table a formal offer in the next 48 hours in a bombshell development for Nikorima as he prepares for Thursday night's Broncos-Souths grudge match.
The clash at Sydney's ANZ Stadium against his former coach Wayne Bennett could be Nikorima's 87th and final game for the Broncos with Brisbane considering an immediate release to the Warriors.
The 25-year-old was first linked with a move to the Warriors last December.
Nikorima has been made aware of the Warriors' poaching bid and would be devastated at the thought of leaving a Broncos club that has groomed him for the NRL since his teen years in Brisbane's under-20s ranks.
The veteran of 13 Tests for New Zealand has consistently maintained he can succeed at halfback but the Broncos' sluggish 2-5 start this season has not helped his prospects of being Brisbane's long-term No.7.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is developing young halfbacks Sean O'Sullivan, Tom Dearden, Cory Paix and Tanah Boyd, raising the possibility Brisbane could send Nikorima back to the bench as a No.14 super-sub next season.
But Nikorima may not last that long at Red Hill if the injury-ravaged Warriors can get their man as soon as possible.
The Kiwi outfit have had their scrumbase decimated with Shaun Johnson's off-season move to Cronulla compounded by a groin injury to his one-time halves partner Blake Green.
Such is their plight, the Warriors were forced to use back-rower Tohu Harris in the halves alongside four-game rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita in their Anzac Day clash against Melbourne last Thursday night.
Nikorima is contracted to the Broncos until the end of 2020 but the Warriors are keen to tempt him with a lucrative offer, potentially spanning three seasons beyond this year.
Warriors coach Steve Kearney worked with Nikorima as a former assistant at the Broncos and the pair share the same manager, the NRL's most powerful agent Isaac Moses.
The Broncos were hoping the Milford-Nikorima alliance would work but the pint-sized pair have never really clicked since joining forces last season following Ben Hunt's departure to the Dragons.
In the wake of Brisbane's 29-6 defeat of Cronulla on Saturday night, Broncos prop Matt Lodge praised Nikorima, saying he is an NRL-quality halfback.
"All our forwards have trust in 'Milf' (Milford) to get the job done and Kodi is just as dangerous," he said.
"I'd hate to be tackling him because he's short and explosive.
"He can just break games open when we need points. Kodi is a threat. He's just got to run the ball."