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NRL - Rugby League: Brown makes half-back partnership call

Head coach Nathan Brown looks set to partner Kodi Nikorima with Shaun Johnson when New Zealand Warriors open their NRL campaign.

Brown has options at half-back with Ash Taylor also among his squad, but the cancellation of a practice match against Gold Coast Titans has left Taylor without an opportunity to press his claims.

And that means that Johnson and Nikorima are likely to start against the St George-Illawarra Dragons, although Brown expects Taylor to make a major impact over the course of the season, with the Warriors 15/2 to secure a top-four finish.

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Nikorima has been with the Warriors for just over two seasons, while Johnson rejoined the franchise at the start of last season, but was forced to miss the whole of the 2021 campaign due to hamstring problems.

Taylor, meanwhile, has only just joined up with the Warriors, having started his career with Brisbane Broncos, before making his name with the Titans.

Brown explains his decision

Brown told Stuff: "In the shorter term you would have thought that with Kodi and Shaun playing together at the international level that helps.

"Ash had a few setbacks, but we're really happy with where he's at to be honest and we know that he's going to make a great contribution to our club - whether that's in round one, or four, six or eight.

"Ash's time will definitely come and he'll contribute well.

"But round one, if you look at the way we named our team for the second trial, it suggests that certain people have got their noses in front of other people."

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