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Boyd, Milford must step up: Thaiday

NZN 10/04/2017 Laine Clark

Pressure will be on Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford to step up in injured halfback Ben Hunt's absence, not rookie Brisbane No.7 Kodi Nikorima, Sam Thaiday says.

Bench utility Nikorima is expected to be named in the halves for Friday night's NRL derby with Gold Coast after confirmation Hunt will be out for six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury.

Veteran Broncos forward Thaiday on Monday backed the pint-sized Kiwi international to stand tall while Hunt was sidelined.

Nikorima impressed when he ran on after Hunt went down early in the second half of their 32-8 win over Sydney Roosters last Thursday.

But ex-Brisbane skipper Thaiday said the initial onus would be on captain Boyd and five-eighth Milford to spark their attack without Hunt.

"He came out for the end of that half (against Roosters) and I think he did a fantastic job and another week of training under his belt will only help him," Thaiday said.

"This week it might take him a little bit to get going but that means (fullback) Darius or Anthony Milford will need to take a bit more responsibility in attack."

Still, Nikorima has some big shoes to fill.

Thaiday was in awe of Hunt's second half tackle against the Roosters while clutching his injured hamstring.

Hunt looked gone for all money when he fell to the ground holding his leg in the 49th minute but somehow got up to pull off a sideline tackle and snuff out a Latrell Mitchell attacking raid and a Roosters comeback.

Thaiday believed Hunt would have worsened the injury with his inspirational play but had no complaints.

"While still hurt, down and injured he continued to push hard and made a sideline tackle which was pretty heroic - we are going to miss him," Thaiday said of Hunt.

"He probably did make it worse by making that tackle but it just shows what kind of player he is.

"That's why he is such an integral part of our team."

Brisbane lock Josh McGuire expected Nikorima to slot seamlessly into the Broncos structure.

"You can't replace a player like Ben Hunt, he is very classy," he said.

"But the good thing about this club when people get a chance to step up they usually do.

"And we are playing with a structure that a lot of people can fit into.

"Hopefully this ride just keeps on going."

Brisbane will this week monitor the fitness of prop Korbin Sims (ankle), and winger Corey Oates (groin) who missed the most recent victory.

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