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Brown, Tevaga praise reluctant dummy-half Nikorima

Jazz Tevaga believes teammate Kodi Nikorima's best position is hooker while Warriors coach Nathan Brown sees "a lot of positives" in using him off the bench.

Tevaga said Nikorima "still doesn't like to think" that he is a dummy-half instead of a halfback, but the 15-time New Zealand international may not have much choice if he keeps up his current form.

With Shaun Johnson on board next year and Chanel Harris-Tavita - who will return from a pec injury in Saturday's clash with the Sharks - providing another halves option, Brown is already thinking ahead.

Brown has kept the zippy Nikorima in his super-sub role for the round 21 match at Cbus Super Stadium with Tevaga set to start at hooker in place of injured rookie Taniela Otukolo (knee).

"With our squad [and] me being here for a bit over half a year now, we're starting to look at some different things. Not only for now, but for how the squad might evolve over time," Brown said.

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"[Dummy-half] is certainly a role that Kodi's played over time and played it well.

"We saw again the other day when he came on and played that role [in an 18-16 win over the Wests Tigers], he certainly helped change the momentum of the game in our way.

"It does give you versatility on your bench or versatility in your team as well when you've got a hooker who can play generally in the halves as well.

"There are a lot of positives to it, but we'll get through the back part of this year and watch Kodi play a bit more of that type of role.

"We'll have to sit down with the staff and sit down with the players as well ... We had Euan [Aitken] play back row last week and he had his best game as well. We'll see how these things evolve.

"At the back end of the year and when we review our season, we'll have different conversations with different players."

The mentor noted that Nikorima had been used as a bench dummy-half in Brisbane's 2015 grand final loss to the Cowboys.

Brown said the plan against Cronulla was for Tevaga to "play a short stint at hooker" before making way for Nikorima and eventually coming back on as a running middle forward.

"[I'll] take the punch out of the big boys because Kodi doesn't like tackling," Tevaga quipped.

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"And then he'll come on and we all know what he can do at nine. I think, personally, he's a hooker, but he doesn't like to think that.

"But he's so dangerous coming out of dummy-half, especially with the speed of the game now."

In a timely boost alongside the addition of five-eighth Harris-Tavita, the Warriors will regain props Matt Lodge and Addin Fonua-Blake and second-rower Josh Curran this weekend.

Meanwhile, Brown praised the development of steady halfback Sean O'Sullivan, who is without a contract for 2022.

"Where it all ends up we're not too sure, but Sean's made a good contribution to the club in both those areas [NRL and Queensland Cup]," Brown said.

Tevaga is holding out hope of the Warriors making the finals but the pragmatic Brown understands it's a tall ask.

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"There is a big cluster of teams on 18 points and we play one or two of them and they are going to play some of the top teams,” Brown said, with the Warriors on 14 points.

"But for us, this is an opportunity to win two games on the bounce, which we haven't done yet this year.

"Generally on the back of a close win we have had a heartbreaking loss, so looking to get some consistency and a bit of momentum is more important than worrying about anything else at this stage."

Acknowledgement of Country

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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