New Zealand Warriors coach Nathan Brown has explained his decision to drop Kodi Nikorima from the side to play the Gold Coast Titans in Round 2.

Nikorima won the race to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves for Round 1, with Chanel Harris-Tavita filling in for Reece Walsh at fullback, and Ashley Taylor left out of the side for the season opening loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Round 2 team for Saturday afternoon's clash on the Gold Coast though seemed to indicate Harris-Tavita was actually ahead in the race to play in the halves.

It was thought he would partner Kodi Nikorima, however, Nikorima was dropped out of the side to allow Taylor to play as the back up number seven to the injured Johnson, while Harris-Tavita will wear the number six.

Brown explained that Harris-Tavita had won the race to stay in the team based on his Round 1 performance.

"None of the changes are due to performances," Brown told the media.

"We had a choice to make between Chanel and Kodi and just going on the weekend's performance I certainly thought Chanel was the one that deserved to stay in the team.

"With Reece (Walsh) coming back in Chanel was going to be playing at six or not playing so that was more Reece coming back, if Reece didn't come back Chanel would have stayed at fullback as we were quite happy with his first up hit out there.

NRL Rd 1 - Warriors v Titans
GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Chanel Harris-Tavita of the Warriors during the round one NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Gold Coast Titans at Central Coast Stadium, on March 13, 2021, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

"Then we had a choice to make. Chanel spent all pre-season training at numbers of positions, one of them being five-eighth and one of them being fullback and he's earned the right to play, we feel."

Brown said that Nikorima will likely get an opportunity again this season though.

"Those decisions are never ones you like making when you're leaving someone out of the footy team but when I spoke to Kodi, he understands why I went with Chanel," Brown added.

"We had a good honest conversation and Kodi's probably got an area or two he can help himself a little bit. I'm sure it's not the last we've seen of him. Next time Kodi comes in I'm sure he'll give a good account of himself."

The Warriors play the Titans on Saturday afternoon at 3pm (AEDT).