Nikorima no guarantee of Broncos start

Kodi Nikorima says Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett hasn’t confirmed he will start at hooker in injured rake Andrew McCullough’s absence against Cronulla on Sunday.

Nikorima was named in the No.9 jersey after McCullough broke down in last round’s win over South Sydney and was ruled out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

But Nikorima admitted bench selection Travis Waddell was a chance of making his Broncos debut in the starting side this weekend.

“I am not too sure yet. It doesn’t bother me – I don’t mind coming off the bench,” Nikorima said.

Off-contract Nikorima said the stage was set for him to not only try to nail down a new Broncos deal but also launch a last-gasp Kiwi selection bid.

The New Zealand team to play Australia in Friday week’s trans-Tasman Test in Newcastle will be named on Sunday.

Nikorima made his Kiwi debut in last year’s series in England.

Former Canberra and Newcastle rake Waddell may start against Cronulla in what would be his first game for Brisbane in his second year at the club.

Brisbane No.7 Ben Hunt admitted McCullough was a huge loss but believed Waddell added much-needed depth.

“Macca has been our dummy half for a long time now, losing his direction around the ruck will change a few things,” he said.

“But Travis has played NRL before and he will do a good job.”

Sam Thaiday is set to fill the starting prop vacancy created by Kiwi frontrower Adam Blair’s one-week ban for dangerous contact at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

“I assume so. He started last week for us so I can’t see why he won’t start again,” Brisbane skipper Corey Parker said of Thaiday in the front row.

In a reshuffled pack, Alex Glenn returns from a hip injury to slot into the starting second row and Herman Ese’ese is set to be added to the bench after making his Broncos debut last week.

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