As usual, Warriors NRL great Stacey Jones has devoted chunks of his week priming Kodi Nikorima to lift his game.
However, assistant coach Jones has also spent time dissecting the methods of Nikorima’s opposite, South Sydney No.6 Cody Walker, knowing the danger posed by the centurion-to-be in Friday’s match at Bankwest Stadium.
It was Walker who shredded the Warriors with four tries when they met early last season.
Jones noted the difference to the Rabbitohs when the 30-year-old five-eighth returned from suspension for last week’s 20-point win over Gold Coast, ending his team’s three-game losing streak.
“He’s very important to them – a very dangerous player and he found some form coming straight back into the team,” Jones said.
Late bloomer Walker will play the 100th game of his NRL career at the age of 30.
He trails the 105 games notched by 26-year-old Nikorima, who Jones hopes is building towards a run of high-level form following sparkling showings in the two Warriors wins in Gosford.
Nikorima’s incisive running complemented three try assists from veteran halfback Blake Green last week against North Queensland, showcasing what the oft-criticised Warriors halves can do at their best.
But while Green is largely self-sufficient, Nikorima regularly soaks up tips and assurances from former halfback Jones, among the greatest Warriors to play the game.
“You’ve got to keep pushing him. The players are telling him how good he can be, so he’s getting it from left, right and centre at the moment and we’ve just got to stay on his case,” Jones said.
“Because from the previous week (loss to Penrith) to what he produced on the weekend, there was a huge difference.”