Kodi Nikorima’s enigmatic form in the halves continues to frustrate Warriors fans – his blistering first half and anonymous display in the second stanza epitomised a rollercoaster 24-20 win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
But the diminutive livewire’s goalkicking is developing into an unexpected trump card in 2021 for the seventh-placed Warriors, who are $36 in the premiership market and still a juicy $2.40 to Make the Top 8.
Nikorima has landed 24 of 28 shots at goal so far – an elite success rate of 85.71 percent. Only Jarrod Croker (15/17 at 88.24 percent) is kicking with a better success rate of players with 15-plus attempts.
The 27-year-old is something of a late-bloomer by usual goalkicking standards. He kicked just nine goals in the NYC and was not called upon at NRL level in 86 games for Brisbane. As a Warriors stopgap in 2019-20, Nikorima kicked 18 goals from 29 attempts at a subpar 62.1 percent.
The boys are still shaken up by Sunday's game of two halves. But Brad has been working hard to find an alternative nickname for our new teen superstar, while Will has been delving deep to uncover the trends in league players' names over the past 40 years.https://t.co/BZT6pJyhDb
— This Warriors Life (@thiswarriorslyf) May 5, 2021
Chanel Harris-Tavita had been the Warriors’ first-choice goalkicker when in the side since his 2019 debut, landed 51 goals at a useful – if not top-shelf – 78.46 %. It was a surprise to see Nikorima with the tee to start 2021.
But Nikorima’s improvement is paying big dividends; his goalkicking proved the difference in the Warriors’ recent wins over St George Illawarra (20-14) and North Queensland (24-20) after both matches finished with both teams scoring the same number of tries.
The Warriors’ unusually high proportion of tries scored in the middle of the park has helped Nikorima’s percentage. He’s been superb from the sideline, however, nailing seven of 10 attempts from out wide.
A shank of a relatively simple conversion of Rocco Berry’s try in Round 7 was the only real black mark against Nikorima’s goalkicking performances this season.
The Warriors kicked at just 71.01 percent in 2020 – 10th in the competition and well under the NRL’s overall percentage of 75.56.
Among the clubs that finished lower in the 2020 goalkicking percentage standings was Manly – the Warriors’ opponents this weekend – with first-choice Reuben Garrick slotting 41 goals at just 68.33 percentage. But the winger has kicked 20 from 25 attempts (80 percent) so far in 2021.
The Warriors find themselves as $2.65 outsiders for their road trip to Brookvale on Sunday. Punters may want to take note of the Warriors’ recent success in daytime games – winning seven of their last nine, including all four in 2021, and covering in their last 10.
As six-point underdogs, the Warriors shape as a top-value option against the line when they take on the 3-5 Sea Eagles.
PODCAST | Another round of the NRL is done and as always, Teddy has a thing or two that he needs to get off his chest. The team go through his gripes before giving all their bets for Round 9.
— TAB Sport (@TAB_Sport) May 6, 2021
WARRIORS GOALKICKERS – BEST CAREER PERCENTAGE (Min 40 attempts)
Michael Witt – 121 goals at 87.1% (2007-08)
Matthew Ridge – 103 goals at 83.1% (1997-99)
Ivan Cleary – 195 goals at 81.6% (2000-02)
Chanel Harris-Tavita – 51 goals at 78.5% (2019-21)*
Issac Luke – 46 goals at 78% (2016-18)
James Maloney – 222 goals at 75.3% (2010-12)
WARRIORS GOALKICKERS – WORST PERCENTAGE (Min 40 attempts)
Brent Webb – 27 goals at 60% (2002-06)
Lance Hohaia – 64 goals at 62.8% (2002-11)
John Simon – 51 goals at 64.6% (1999-2000)
Marc Ellis – 29 goals at 67.4% (1996-98)
Stacey Jones – 176 goals at 69% (1995-2009)
WARRIORS GOALKICKERS – BEST PERCENTAGE IN A SEASON (Min 20 attempts)
Michael Witt – 62 goals at 92.5% (2007)
Matthew Ridge – 34 goals at 87.2% (1999)
Kodi Nikorima – 24 goals at 85.7% (2021)*
Issac Luke – 23 goals at 85.2% (2019)
Ivan Cleary – 105 goals at 83.3% (2002)
Michael Witt – 59 goals at 83.1% (2008)
Stacey Jones – 24 goals at 82.8% (2001)
Chanel Harris-Tavita – 24 goals at 82.8% (2019)
You legends smashed @chancerhq's record last week to unlock the Warriors jersey as the prize. So they’ve upped the stakes again for the TWL Warriors Fan Challenge ahead of the clash with Manly: 25 bucks at Rebel Sport for every Warriors try. How good! https://t.co/0kaiXBeJGa
— This Warriors Life (@thiswarriorslyf) May 6, 2021