Broncos: 'We’ve got the new Sonny Bill'
Broncos skipper Alex Glenn has hailed Jordan Riki as Brisbane's version of Sonny Bill Williams as the hulking forward looks to fill the back-row void left by Titans recruit David Fifita.
Life after Fifita begins for the Broncos on Saturday night when new Brisbane coach Kevin Walters unleashes the hard-running Riki in their final pre-season trial against the Cowboys at Redcliffe's Dolphin Stadium.
Fifita was regarded as a 10-year back-rower for the Broncos, but his shock big-money transfer to arch rivals the Titans this season has created a vacancy on Brisbane's edge.
The 21-year-old was impressive in his rookie year last season, playing five games, and underscored his talent with a bargeover try for the Maori All Stars in last week's 10-all draw against their Indigenous rivals.
At 190cm and 106kg, the muscular Riki is one of Brisbane's most formidable athletic specimens, prompting Glenn to draw comparisons with recently-retired NRL legend SBW.
"Jordan idolises Sonny Bill Williams and I see some of SBW's attributes in his game," Glenn said.
"He is six (foot) three or six four, he is very agile, has footwork and an offload.
"He has a long career ahead and the best thing about Jordan is he's always willing to learn.
"He hasn't got a big head. He has played for the Maori All Stars, but he is still very humble and still eager to learn, I love that about Jordan.
"You want your younger players coming in and not thinking they know everything.
"The best thing is he is playing in a position I know a lot about, so it's good to be able to mentor him and give him advice on little areas in the game he can improve on.
"We want to see players like Jordan play for the Broncos for 10 years-plus so I'd like to mentor guys like him."
Riki will wear the No. 12 jumper on Saturday night in a back-row alliance with Glenn, who will captain the Broncos in a testimonial match to celebrate his 267-game career.
The rampaging forward made his first impact on the NRL last season in his fourth match against Penrith, spearing through the line and dummying past fullback Dylan Edwards to crash over for a superb 40-metre try.
Now coach Walters believes Riki is ready for more minutes as a member of Brisbane's starting side.
"He finished last season off in the back row and did a great job in the last five games," Walters said.
"From what we saw in the All Stars game last Saturday night, he didn't look out of his depth.
"Jordan is a good young player and we are fortunate to have some senior role models in Alex (Glenn) and Ben Te'o to mentor him and guide him through the pathway we expect to be a long career at the Broncos.
"We need to remember he has just turned 21, so he has a lot of football in front of him.
"His mindset is powerful and he wants to get better which I'm really impressed with. He is a big body, so he's ideal to have in the side."
Originally published as Broncos: We've got the new Sonny Bill