Bennett tells Nikorima to stay put for now

Wayne Bennett is imploring Brisbane utility Kodi Nikorima to complete his apprenticeship at Red Hill before entertaining lucrative offers from rival NRL clubs.

Nikorima, who has come off the bench for the Broncos in all five of their matches this season, is off-contract at the end of the year and reportedly keen to test his value on the open market.

Brisbane’s opponents on Thursday night, struggling St George Illawarra, are one team said to be interested in his services.

The 22-year-old is eager to shed his reputation as a super-sub, but with Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt immovable as Brisbane’s starting halves, it appears unlikely Nikorima will get a chance to establish himself as a Broncos starter in the near future.

While Bennett admitted Nikorima may have to eventually head elsewhere for more minutes, he said he shouldn’t be in a rush.

“He’s just doing an apprenticeship at the moment,” Bennett said after Wednesday’s training session.

“It’s not his time to leave yet.

“If we can’t find a place for him in 12 months or so then maybe it will be his time.

“He’s going to be really good player in a year or two.

“But right now he’s getting invaluable experience and growth in himself as a person and as a player … and getting time to be that really good player that he can be.

“That’s his journey he’s on right now, it’s to be decided down the track where he might finish up playing.”

Nikorima scored a cracking solo try in last weekend’s win over Gold Coast, catching a lead-footed Titans defence out with a sizzling run from dummy-half.

His younger brother, Jayden, left the Broncos last year to take up a three-year deal with the Sydney Roosters.

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