NRL 2019: How Kodi Nikorima signing could hurt Warriors rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita

Former NZ Warriors and Kiwis coach Brian McClennan is concerned the potential arrival of Kodi Nikorima could hamper the development of rookie halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita.

In a disappointing season, where the Warriors have won only twice in their opening seven games, Harris-Tavita has been a shining light, since making his debut against the Gold Coast Titans.

Brisbane's Courier-Mail reports the Auckland NRL club will table a formal offer for the 25-year-old, with the Broncos apparently willing to release the New Zealand international.

Nikorima is signed to the Broncos through 2020, but has an option in his favour for the final year of his contract and is effectively a free agent at the end of the season.

But if the Warriors sign Nikorima, Harris-Tavita would likely drop to reserve grade to make way for the 86-game veteran, who'd partner Blake Green in the halves.

Talking to Trackside Radio, McClennan said it could "stifle" Harris-Tavita's development in the seven jersey.

"If you get Kodi in, what happens to Chanel?" he said. "That concerns me, because I think he will become a great player and he's shown glimpses of brilliance.

Chanel Harris-Tavita.
Chanel Harris-Tavita. Photo credit: Photosport

"If you get Kodi, he has to play when Green is back, so it stifles a young kid who can go on and do some good things. - not only for the Warriors, but the Kiwis too."

Nikorima was first linked to the Warriors, after the club released New Zealand halves partner Shaun Johnson to Cronulla last December.

But with Green injured, the Warriors are again interested Nikorima and are expected to table an offer that could result in the 13-test Kiwi returning home to New Zealand within days.

Former New Zealand international Hugh McGahan has been pleased with Harris-Tavita's progress in such little time.

"For somebody so young, he hasn't overplayed his hand, he's showed some poise," McGahan said on Trackside Radio. "We haven't seen crazy plays like he did in the Junior Kiwis with the 'scorpion kick'.

"He's just playing good footy and plying his trade. I think he's the player of the future, which the Warriors and Kiwis can rely on.

"He is getting a good head of where he is in the team right now. Once Green is cleared of injury, then the young boy misses out, because you can't have that much experience sitting on the bench."

Former Warriors coach Brian McClennan.
Former Warriors coach Brian McClennan. Photo credit: AAP

McGahan threw out the idea that Nikorima could be a utility option and be the club's future hooker, once Issac Luke departs.

Meanwhile, McClennan thinks the Warriors should use whatever money they have to bring in another big prop, similar to Leeson Ah Mau, along with another loose forward.

Warriors forward Isaiah Papali'i, who played with Nikorima during the Kiwis tour of England last year, thinks he would be a great signing.

"He's an asset to any team he's in," he said. "He's been on the international scene for a while now.

"If he comes here, all the boys will welcome him with open arms."  

Former Broncos assistant coach Kevin Walters told Big Sports Breakast he would be shocked if Nikorima left the Broncos.

"I'd be disappointed if the Broncos let Kodi Nikorima go," he said. "I know the Warriors are desperate find a number seven.

"I know he's got a good relationship with [Warriors coach] Stephen Kearney, but I think deep down, he would dearly love to stay at the Broncos.  

"They've got some young halfbacks in the waiting, but none of them are at the level now where Kodi Nikorima is.          

"I'd be surprised if he left, but that's the modern game."


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