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Nikorima's 'strut' already rubbing off on Warriors mates

Kodi Nikorima is already 'strutting around like he's Stacey Jones' in his first week at the Warriors, with his team-mates also enjoying a much-needed shot of confidence from their drought-breaking win over the Dragons.

Nikorima's return to Suncorp Stadium, home turf from the age of 12 until last week with his sudden Broncos exit, was a happy one thanks to 20 unanswered points against St George Illawarra on Saturday night.

The 26-18 win was thoroughly needed by Stephen Kearney's side, who were staring down a fifth straight loss when trailing 18-6 at halftime.

Nikorima's Warriors debut got better the longer it went and Kearney expects his three-year deal with the Kiwi side he followed as a kid will progress the same way.

But despite leaving his young family and all but his essential possessions behind in Brisbane, Kearney joked Nikorima had already made himself well and truly at home at Warriors HQ.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Dragons

"Anyone would think he's Stacey Jones the way he's strutting around the footy club," Kearney grinned.

"He's not short on confidence you can put it that way. That's his character, that's his personality, he's a confident young lad.

"He's got a fairly close relationship with a fair few of the boys within the New Zealand team. He's slotted in pretty easily, that's Kodi.

"Kodes was good (against the Dragons). Part of the second half, he could have got into the game a little bit more. He's probably getting used to things. It was tense and tight in the second half. I think he'll get better with the group."

Warriors playmaker Kodi Nikorima.
Warriors playmaker Kodi Nikorima. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Kearney was understandably relieved speaking after his first win in a month. He also had to pause more than once, admitting his recovery from a rare sculled celebratory beer in the sheds afterwards isn't what it once was.

"I thought there were some courageous performances out there tonight," Kearney said.

"Morale and confidence was fairly low after the Knights game (a 36-18 loss last week), I thought they came to Mt Smart and gave us a bit of a touch up.

"To the boys' credit at halftime, the point was about sticking at it and hanging in there. We needed to fix a few things in defence and give ourselves the opportunity.

"I thought they did that. They never stopped going at them. It would have been easy for the lads to tuck the ball under the wing and not play any footy but they went after it and that's what I was really proud of. It takes courage."

Nikorima finishes first game with try assist

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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