Jack Bird. The Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Peter Wallis
Jack Bird. The Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Peter Wallis

Bird on standby for halves move

BIG-MONEY Broncos recruit Jack Bird is on standby in the halves for Kodi Nikorima with the pint-sized halfback in doubt for Saturday night's road trip to face the Warriors.

Nikorima suffered a corked thigh in last week's 15-10 loss to Newcastle, forcing the Kiwi Test utility to play a reduced role at Wednesday's training session at Red Hill.

Nikorima started late and finished the session early, opening the door for Bird to slot in the halves alongside Milford as pressure builds on the Broncos to snap a two-game losing streak against the unbeaten Warriors.

Bird appeared to relish his role at the scrumbase at training, speaking with teammates about which plays to run as he stationed himself on the right edge inside lethal centre James Roberts.

Jack Bird takes on the defence at training. (Peter Wallis)
Jack Bird takes on the defence at training. (Peter Wallis)

The $800,000 import has copped heavy criticism for his weight and his below-par performances in the opening weeks, but a move closer to the ball could spark Bird into action.

Veteran forward Sam Thaiday hopes Nikorima will be cleared to play, but backed Bird to succeed if required in the Broncos' halves.

"He went all right (at five-eighth) today with a question mark over Kodi this week," Thaiday said.

"It's good to have a player like Jack. He is a very different player to Kodi, he looks like he has all the time in the world, he looked like he was enjoying himself and having fun and that's what we want him to do.

"That (closer to the action) is where he is most dangerous, we haven't used him up as much as we could. He is still a bit hesitant most probably within our team and our structures at the moment.

"With Birdy, the more you push, the more he shows you what he has got. He has showed that in the past and if he gets his chance (at five-eighth), he will do the job there.

"I'm sure even if he plays in the centres, he will want to show everyone he is a good player.

"If he gets his hands on the ball, it would be good to see what he can do."

Nikorima is in doubt for the trip to New Zealand.
Nikorima is in doubt for the trip to New Zealand.

Asked if Nikorima will play, Thaiday said: "He was out there running around this morning.

"He has a corked left thigh, corks are a weird and funny thing, he is trying to run it out at the moment.

"He will train with us Friday and if he gets through that session, he will be more than OK to play."

Thaiday said the Broncos are wary of a Warriors club that has benefited from the departure of several former Brisbane identities.

Warriors coach Steve Kearney was an assistant to Wayne Bennett, prop Adam Blair helped the Broncos to the 2015 grand final and former conditioner Alex Corvo has been credited with making Warriors players fitter.

"Alex Corvo has brought them the next level of fitness," Thaiday said.

"Steve Kearney has always been a fantastic coach and it's good to see he has put a couple of years there in now and 'Blairy' brings a real training professionalism and a real hard edge out there on the field.

"Rugby league is always a better game when the Warriors are playing well.

"With us, we have our own internal meetings and there's no panic buttons being pushed at all. We have to continue to work hard and hopefully the wins will come."



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