Anyone able to see what’s behind the pay wall???
Kodi Nikorima wants to help Lachlan Ilias. South Sydney’s newest recruit has watched the Rabbitohs young half closely and likes what he sees.
If Nikorima can help him get better, he will do so. He hasn’t arrived at Redfern, having made a surprise mid-season switch from the Warriors, looking to rock the boat.
He has come to lend a helping hand and ease the load on Ilias and halves partner Cody Walker.
“I have been watching him (Ilias) pretty closely and he has definitely shown signs,” Nikorima said.
“I don’t know how old he is but he is still a young player. He is pretty sound defensively. The attack will come once he gets more and more reps playing.
“I am happy to help him out wherever I can. Once we start training together, I will definitely let him know where he is going well or how I can help his game as well.
“This is Lachie’s first full year and I have been around a while now. I know the ins and outs of this game. I am just happy to help out wherever.”
Nikorima was signed by Souths with money they originally had reserved for Anthony Milford. When the Milford deal went pear-shaped, the Rabbitohs had a gap to fill.
Nikorima was off contract at the end of the season and had made it clear to the Warriors that he had no plans to return to New Zealand.
The Rabbitohs loomed as a logical option given Nikorima’s longstanding relationship with Souths coach Jason Demetriou - the pair worked together at the Broncos before Nikorima moved to the Warriors.
“When I was playing there (at the Broncos), he definitely helped with my attack, giving me that confidence,” Nikorima said.
“Me and Milf used to always catch up with him weekly to see where we were at and what we could improve. He is definitely a smart coach.
“Everything just happened real fast. With Milf not being here, they were still wanting an experienced player to help out and be another voice around the joint.
“They have some young players coming through - some young, exciting players - that I am definitely keen to train and play alongside.
“I still have a good relationship with Jason which goes back to when we were at the Broncs together. He was pretty keen to get me down.
“As a player, all you really want is to feel wanted. He definitely made me feel that.”
Nikorima’s future was always somewhere other than the Warriors. There was speculation last year that he wanted to return to Queensland and he makes it clear that his decision to leave was driven by a desire to be closer to family to help out his partner and young children.
“It was a family thing of wanting to be in Australia,” Nikorima said.
“I have all my family over there in Brisbane and so does my partner. When Covid happened and we moved to the central coast, it got pretty tough on my partner being in NZ alone with no real support.
“I guess that was a turning point for myself not wanting to put her in that situation ever again.”
He has an option in his deal with South Sydney for next year but 2023 is on the back burner while he helps the Rabbitohs turn around their season.
Coincidentally, his first outing for the Rabbitohs will be against the Warriors.
“It is one of those things that was going to happen eventually,” Nikorima said.
“Pretty crazy how it is going to happen this week. Funnily enough, when I left the Broncos, I played my first game for the Warriors in Magic Round.
“Now when I play them, it will be Magic Round as well. It is definitely a tough one.
“When you play in this game you obviously spend a lot of time together and form some close relationships, which I have with the Warriors.
“I am definitely excited to come up against them. I know it is all business when you cross that white line but afterwards it will be good to catch up with them again.”
As for next year, Nikorima insists he is in no hurry to make a call.
“That’s something I will definitely decide later on,” Nikorima said.
“Just for now, I am trying to learn new systems and find my way around the area, and make the most of this opportunity.
“First and foremost I want to play. I haven’t played in three weeks due to Covid protocols.
“When I was playing, some games I have only played 15 minutes. For me it is just trying to get some time playing which is part of the reason I took up this opportunity.
“All that contract stuff will take care of itself