With Anthony Milford returning to the Broncos side, and the irresistible form of Kodi Nikorima, the make-up of the Broncos’ full-strength halves combination has been the subject of much speculation of late. What people didn’t expect though, was for departing halfback Ben Hunt to also fall behind the timeless Benji Marshall in the Broncos’ playmaker pecking order.
That, however, is what appears to have happened. Hunt has today been omitted from the Broncos squad altogether for their clash with the Rabbitohs, with Nikorima partnering Milford in the halves, and Marshall being preferred over Hunt for the utility bench spot.
And it doesn’t sound like Hunt will be getting the #7 jersey back soon.
“We’ve always though (Nikorima) had a long-term future here, and it was just a case of where that was,” said Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. “But now with Ben making his decision to go, it has opened up an opportunity for Kodi and there is no doubt that Kodi will be the halfback here next year.”
It’s not only Hunt who’d be feeling the pressure of Nikorima’s rich vein of form. Sharks utility Jack Bird signed with the Broncos in the hope of filling Hunt’s vacated halves spot; with Nikorima playing sufficiently well to establish himself as the team’s halfback, there doesn’t appear to be a halves spot left for Bird to fill, leaving him to likely play in the centres – exactly what he was hoping to avoid.