Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford says he is excited about renewing a halves partnership with Kodi Nikorima against Wigan tomorrow night.
One of two curtain-raisers to the World Club Challenge clash between NRL champions North Queensland and an injury-hit Super League premiers Leeds Rhinos, Brisbane will be without starting halfback Ben Hunt, who is serving his one-game suspension from the grand final.
The teams met in the same tournament last year, with the Broncos claiming a 14-12 victory thanks to an extra-time penalty from Corey Parker.
Milford said Wigan was a physical side which would provide Brisbane with a perfect hit-out for their NRL round one clash with Auckland Nines winner Parramatta.
"We're all looking forward too the challenge," said Milford after another training session in England.
"I played a lot of junior football with Kodi. It's pretty exciting for us to play together in a halves combination at such a high level."
Milford said he noticed a spring in Nikorima's step since he was called into the New Zealand Test squad earlier this year.
"With Ben (Hunt) not being there it is going to be a little different," he said.
"We'll have to share the load between us and organise the boys more, but we've got a lot of experienced boys in the middle.
"Andrew McCullough (hooker) is like another coach, he reads the game as good as anyone and he'll help guide us around the park."
Meanwhile, North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston said he was taking little notice of Leeds' 56-12 weekend loss to Widnes and a horror early injury toll as they look to add the title of the world's best club side to their 2015 maiden NRL title.
"I wouldn't be reading too much into that. They're a quality outfit," the Cowboys co-captain said.
The North Queenslanders spent a few days in London before shifting to Leeds to prepare for the big clash, which fellow co-captain Matt Scott predicted would be a real battle.
Coach Paul Green said the loss of utility and back-up hooker Ray Thompson, who broke his ankle while training with the Indigenous All Stars, was very disappointing.
"It's very unfortunate and disappointing for Ray, but it gives a young bloke like Josh Chudleigh a chance to experience an event like this.
Chudleigh, an Australian schoolboy representative, is a busy defensive player who can also find the try line.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU
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