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Nikorima lined up for bench hooker role

AAP logoAAP 14/08/2019 Daniel Gilhooly

Kodi Nikorima © Chris Hyde/Getty Images Kodi Nikorima Kodi Nikorima will be a back-up hooker option at best when the Warriors' NRL season goes on the line against the Sydney Roosters, continuing the giddy rise of playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita.

Coach Stephen Kearney has retained rookie Harris-Tavita as his starting five-eighth for Sunday's match at the Sydney Cricket Ground and that won't change, even if Nikorima is passed fit.

Kiwis international hooker Nikorima missed last Friday's upset of Manly in Auckland with an ankle injury and might have been expected to slot back this week outside halfback Blake Green if cleared.

However, the inspirational form of 20-year-old Harris-Tavita can't be denied, leaving Kearney to line up big mid-season signing Nikorima for an unfamiliar role.

"At this stage I'll look at him coming off the bench for us. That's the plan," Kearney said.

"I anticipate that he'll be coming on at dummy half but we'll just see how the game plays out."

Nikorima, snared from the Broncos in a three-season deal in May to effectively replace Shaun Johnson, has endured a mixed start to his Warriors tenure.

The 25-year-old, who has been dogged by niggling injuries, has never started an NRL match at hooker although some pundits believe he has the build and acceleration to be effective there.

Kearney said Harris-Tavita is far from the finished product but is intent on accelerating his experience.

This week has been about adjusting his kicking game for the vast expanses of the SCG, where the Warriors will play for the first time.

"I think the guys have an awareness that the depth of the kick and the width, when you're looking at the sideline, can be a bit challenging.

"You're probably looking for a spot inside the lines to aim at."

The 11th-placed Warriors probably need to topple the defending champions to stay alive in the finals race.

The match is the 200th in the NRL for well-travelled prop Leeson Ah Mau, who captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck described as the team's most consistent player in another hot and cold campaign for the Kiwi club.

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