This week has seen the NRL’s Jayden Nikorima hit with a twelve match drugs ban following the second breach of its kind by the player and has, as a result, seen his contract torn up by the Sydney Roosters which has now left the 2013 Premiers with an enviable amount of funds available to spend on either retention or recruitment.
This winter has seen the Roosters already sign marquee players James Tedesco (Wests Tigers) and Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm) for big money already with many questioning how they would be able to afford such a strong squad of top quality players despite seeing Mitchell Pearce and Michael Gordon depart Bondi Junction prior to the sacking of Nikorima – the brother of New Zealand’s Kodi, who featured for the Kiwis in the recent World Cup.
It is a huge shame for the 21 year old playmaker who, after starting the 2016 campaign as the first choice stand off, ended up playing reserve grade rugby but had undoubted potential. Indeed, the arrival of such a top quality half back of Cooper Cronk could well have benefited the youngster’s further development had he avoided a ban – one which, should any NRL club opt to take him on in the future, will take effect once he signs a new contract. Even if a Super League club fancied their chances of signing Nikorima following the end of his time in Sydney, precedent was set last year in the instance of Ben Barba who also was issued with a twelve match ban towards the end of his time with Cronulla. So, either way, Nikorima will have to wait quite some time to step onto a professional rugby league pitch again and it could be the instance of yet another rugby league career ruined by off field issues.