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Riki can fill that No.11 jersey: Glenn backs rookie to replace Fifita

On the same night Broncos legend Darius Boyd retires a star of the future, Jordan Riki, makes his starting debut against the Cowboys.

With injured second-rower David Fifita on his way to the Titans next year there are high hopes that Riki can hold down a starting back-row position as a damaging edge runner in the future.

Just 20, Riki will start on the left edge on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium after serving a two-match suspension. Fifita will undergo ankle surgery and miss the clash with the Cowboys.

Riki has played four NRL games this year off the interchange bench and showcased his immense potential with a runaway try against the Panthers in the 25-12 loss in round 17.

"It is a huge opportunity for Jordan Riki to start in that back-row position," Brisbane captain Alex Glenn said when asked if Riki could fill the Fifita void next year.

"He has a lot of talent and is still pretty raw but this is going to be a great challenge for him to finish the season with a starting spot and prepare him well for next year.

Jordan Riki will never forget this moment

"He has played New Zealand Maoris and Junior Kiwis so the talent is there, so I guess it is about tucking him under my wing and teaching him the fundamentals of being a consistent footballer.

"I have got so much faith that Riki is going to be an elite athlete in the future."

Glenn spoke to Riki at training on Monday and calmed his nerves.

"I said to him that it is easier to start than to come off the bench,” Glenn said.

"It is [about] the players around him constantly talking to him. I will be there to guide him where I can."

Boyd will play his 337th and last first grade game on Thursday night and Glenn said there was "no way" the players intended to send the dual premiership-winner out with the club's first wooden spoon.

The Broncos, in last place on the ladder, must win to have any chance of avoiding that embarrassment.

"Darius has played for 15 years and has been an icon of the game. He has ticked every box,” Glenn said.

"I know this hasn’t been the season that we wanted but the best thing is he gets to finish at Suncorp Stadium where it all started for him, and at the club where it started.

"Our focus is to finish strong for Darbs and to send him out with a win is our highest priority.

"Our club has never been in this position before. We are not happy about it and if we can give ourselves a chance of winning this weekend to stay off the bottom it is going to be huge for us.

"We want to carry Darius off Suncorp Stadium with the two points and hopefully off that wooden spoon."

Farnworth dives on a Boyd kick

Glenn said the fact the game was a Queensland derby with the Cowboys meant it would be played with intensity and competitiveness.

"I know both teams are under-performing and our coaches have both left the club but it is still going to be a huge game which will come down to the 80th minute, and it will be about who wants it more," he said.

Glenn said there were some positive signs in the 26-12 loss to the Eels last week with the team showing "mongrel" in defence. The attack can improve and having Kotoni Staggs at five-eighth will help in that area.

"Kotoni can do anything on the field and I really enjoyed him playing out there [against the Eels]. Whenever he has the ball in his hand he is worrying the defence," Glenn said.