Thaiday backs Nikorima amid Boyd speculation
BRONCOS veteran Sam Thaiday has backed Kodi Nikorima to make the famous Brisbane No.7 jersey his own in 2018 as speculation continues to rage over Darius Boyd's possible move into the halves.
Broncos great Gorden Tallis on Tuesday suggested that moving Boyd from fullback to five-eighth would not only prolong his career but bring an extra dimension to the Brisbane attack.
Both Boyd and coach Wayne Bennett have denied all pre-season that such a move is even on the cards but the captain's ongoing hamstring issues have raised concerns as to whether he can physically cope with the demands of the modern fullback.
Following the departure of Ben Hunt to the Dragons Bennett has put his trust in Nikorima who formed a dynamic combination with Anthony Milford in last season's run to the preliminary final.
The Broncos won 11 of the 13 games in which Nikorima started in the No.7 jersey last year and Thaiday said that it was about time the Kiwi international was recognised as a genuine NRL-quality halfback.
"He's not given a lot of credit that he's probably due but I'm sure he'll want to get out there this year and prove a lot of people wrong," Thaiday said Tuesday.
"His record with 'Milf' last year was great when Ben Hunt was out and I think he was one of the standout players for New Zealand as well at the end of the year.
"He's been doing a fair bit of training out of that position throughout the pre-season and he's been putting in the hard yards and a lot of hard work to make sure that he can secure that No.7 jersey."
Boyd's skill set has been compared to that of Broncos great Darren Lockyer who made a very successful transition into the halves after establishing himself as one of the finest fullbacks in the game.
In his 267 first grade games to date Boyd has only ever played fullback, wing and in the centres but Thaiday had no doubt he could be a star at five-eighth if such a move was made.
"I love him as a fullback, I love him as a winger and I'm sure he could play in the halves if need be," Thaiday said.
"At the moment we've got two great halves there in 'Milf' and Kodi so we'll stick with those guys for the time being.
"Darbs, once he gets his injuries right, he's going to be another threat there for a lot of teams playing out of fullback."
Remaining coy on whether this could in fact be his last year at the Broncos and last in the NRL, Thaiday said that the empty place for the team's next premiership trophy in their new Red Hill headquarters is a reminder of the expectations on a team that last won a premiership in 2006.
"We've always been a team built on success, even from day one," he said.
"We've got the brand-new facility now, we've got zero excuses.
"Now we just have to try and convert all the good things that are happening for us off the field to some good results on the field.
"As a player I will definitely be pushing hard this year to get to the big dance at the end of the year.
"But I'm sure over the next few years with some of the youth we've got coming through I'm sure we're going to be a real threat within the competition."