For the second night in a row a Nikorima brother has broken English hearts, ensuring rugby league’s World Club Series trophy will stay in Australia following Brisbane’s 42-12 belting of Wigan.
The win, in addition to Friday’s victory by the Sydney Roosters, gave Australian sides an unbeatable 2-0 lead ahead of Sunday’s World Club Challenge between respective premiers North Queensland and Leeds.
Kodi Nikorima bagged a brace of tries in the mauling on Saturday as he stepped up to replicate the starring efforts of younger brother Jayden, who had a hand in five tries during the Roosters’ victory 24 hours earlier.
The Broncos produced a five-star defensive display, regularly repelling Wigan raids on their tryline, while halves Nikorima and Anthony Milford ran amok and winger Corey Oates bagged a double in the seven-tries-to-two victory at DW Stadium.
“I thought we all played well. There were a few boys that came in our side that weren’t really experienced and I think they displayed really good character and played really well,” Milford said.
Wigan’s forwards dominated the early exchanges, but it was a touch of class from Brisbane’s outside backs which broke the deadlock when Oates managed to dot down out wide.
The hulking winger tip-toed the sideline following a Darius Boyd cut-out pass, with the video referee ruling he’d managed to score before his boots touched the sideline.
Luck continued to evade the home side, with hooker Michael McIlorum suffering a horror broken ankle while attempting a tackle on Milford.
He was taken from the field on a stretcher after a lengthy delay before being rushed to hospital.
Nikorima, starting at halfback in place of the suspended Ben Hunt, pounced on a Milford grubber which had rebounded off the goalpost to extended the lead to 12.
His support play was again rewarded in the second half when he was first to a Boyd grubber as the score blew out to 36-6.
Wigan’s only joy came from a sharp first-half try to England centre Dan Sarginson, and a consolation effort to five-eighth George Williams in the dying minutes.
Brisbane’s young halves ensured the match was all-but-over by halftime when they each put a forward into a gaping hole – first Nikorima sending Matt Gillett over out wide before Milford put Jarrod Wallace in under the posts to lock in a 24-6 lead at the break.
Oates bagged his second when the Broncos took advantage of a simple overlap following an 80m run by Brisbane’s England-born winger Greg Eden.
Eden went the distance again not long after, busting the line on another 80m run, but this time was given the reward of a four-pointer of his own to celebrate.