TODAY |

Stephen Kearney torn between Nikorima, Harris-Tavita as Warriors' five-eighth

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney says he genuinely can't decide if Kodi Nikorima or Chanel Harris-Tavita will be his starting five-eighth in round one of the NRL.

Kodi Nikorima makes a pace against the Broncos. Source: Photosport

Kearney revealed the pair are neck-and-neck to wear No.6 against the Knights in Newcastle on March 14, with performances at the Kiwi club's two trials likely to be decisive.

A rookie in 2019, former Warriors junior Harris-Tavita made enormous strides and could well force Kearney to initially field Kiwis international Nikorima as a bench weapon.

In today's opposed training session, Harris-Tavita was slotted outside halfback Blake Green in what Kearney described as his "NRL group", although he said nothing should be read into that.

"I'm going to say this - it's an open position. It's the old saying, the best man's going to get the role," Kearney told reporters.

"We're just trying to give them both a good opportunity to stake their claim.

"One week I'm saying it's Chanel and the next week it's Kodi so that's a good position to be in."

It is a familiar scenario for Harris-Tavita, who spent the lead-up to the opening round last year in a battle with fellow youngster Adam Keighran to partner Green.

Keighran won that sprint courtesy of good trial form but Harris-Tavita soon usurped him, making nine starts in the halves, several of which came after Nikorima's mid-season signing from Brisbane.

Twenty-year-old Harris-Tavita had taken longer to recover from post-season wrist surgery than Kearney expected but had impressed since his return to contact work.