Broncos skipper Alex Glenn has hailed Jordan Riki as Brisbane’s version of Sonny Bill Williams as the great striker tries to fill the gap in the back row left by Titans’ recruit David Fifita.
Life after Fifita begins for the Broncos on Saturday night when Brisbane’s new coach Kevin Walters unleashes hard-fought Riki in his final Test against the Cowboys at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium.
Fifita was considered a 10-year-old backrower for the Broncos, but his shocking referral to arch-rival Titans this season has created a vacancy on the outskirts of Brisbane.
The 21-year-old was impressive in his rookie year last season with five games and underscored his talent with a bargeover attempt for the Maori All Stars in the 10-all tie against indigenous rivals last week.
At 190cm and 106kg, the muscular Riki is one of the most impressive athletic specimens in Brisbane, which leads Glenn to make comparisons with recently retired NRL legend SBW.
« Jordan adores Sonny Bill Williams and I see some attributes of SBW in his game, » said Glenn.
« He’s six (feet) three or six four, he’s very agile, has footwork and a dump.
« He has a long career ahead of him and the best thing about Jordan is that he is always ready to learn.
“He doesn’t have a big head. He’s played for the Maori All Stars, but he’s still very humble and still eager to learn. I love that about Jordan.
« The best part is that he is in a position I know a lot about. So it’s good to be mentored and to be able to give him advice on small areas of the game that he can improve. »
« We want players like Jordan to play for the Broncos for over 10 years, so I want to look after people like him. »
Riki will wear the # 12 sweater on Saturday night in an alliance with Glenn, who will lead the Broncos in a testimonial match to celebrate his 267-game career.
The raging striker made his first NRL impact in his fourth game against Penrith last season. He shot through the line and shot past full-back Dylan Edwards for an excellent 40-yard attempt.
Now coach Walters believes Riki as a member of Brisbane’s starting team will be ready for more minutes.
« He finished last season on the back row and did a great job in the last five games, » said Walters.
« After 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 high-profile role models in Alex (Glenn) and Ben Te’o to mentor him and guide him on the path we have come to expect for a long career with the Broncos .
« We have to remember that he just turned 21 so he has a lot of football ahead of him.
« His mindset is strong and he wants to get better, which really impresses me. He’s a big body so he’s ideal to be by your side. »
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