Kodi Nikorima tangles with opposite number Ben Hunt.
Kodi Nikorima tangles with opposite number Ben Hunt.

We didn’t deliver: Nikorima owns up to horror show

BRISBANE halfback Kodi Nikorima has appealed for coach Wayne Bennett to give him and Anthony Milford time to fire in the halves, admitting their debut outing "wasn't good enough".

Nikorima and Milford were given a chilling reality check of the pressure to succeed this season after their below-par displays in Brisbane's 34-12 loss to the Dragons in a round-one horror show at Kogarah.

Now the heat will intensify, with Brisbane's new scrumbase combination bracing for a daunting showdown with Cowboys superstars Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan on Friday night at Suncorp.

 

Broncos coach Bennett rallied in support of Nikorima and Milford following the Dragons defeat, lashing the inability of Brisbane's beaten forward pack to lay a foundation for their pint-sized halves.

Kodi Nikorima knows he must step up.
Kodi Nikorima knows he must step up.

But Nikorima is making no excuses and says the halves must take responsibility for giving the Broncos the direction to be a premiership force this season.

"I was disappointing," he said.

"With a result like that, it wasn't good enough.

"There is always pressure on the halves and we didn't deliver. We didn't complete our sets and a few times we didn't get to our kick and I need to take ownership of that.

"I thought our forwards did a decent job. There was a time in the second half where we got ourselves back in the game, but you can't give cheap ball away and expect to win games."

While the jury is out on whether the Milford-Nikorima alliance will ever succeed, the livewire Kiwi Test utility is adamant their combination can work.

Anthony Milford struggled to make an impact on Friday night.
Anthony Milford struggled to make an impact on Friday night.

"It's going to take time for us," said Nikorima, who has started at halfback in 14 of his 56 career games.

"We knew going into the season we were going to be a bit rusty.

"It's disappointing how we combined (against the Dragons) but we have a lot of games to look ahead to and we have to forget this and move forward.

"I have the belief that we can succeed.

"I know me and 'Milf' can make it work but we definitely need to be better with our options. Against the Cowboys, we need to be on."

Nikorima rued Ben Hunt's match-winning intercept, admitting Brisbane's squad should have been more alert given the Dragons recruit's 187-game stint with the Broncos.

"All the training we have done together, we should have seen Hunt coming," he said.

"As a former teammate, we know what he is capable of. He played well and I can only wish him the best for the season."

Anthony Milford is key to Brisbane’s success in 2018
Anthony Milford is key to Brisbane’s success in 2018

Nikorima praised the effort of underwire prop Matt Lodge, whose hard running in his Broncos debut was marred by the ill-fated intercept pass he threw for Hunt's try.

"He's been out of the game for three years," he said.

"There was so much criticism on him and a lot of it was uncalled for to be honest.

"I'm glad he got through it and he was in a good headspace. He was pretty enthusiastic too. It's nice to have a big body in our side."


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