Broncos forward Jai Arrow will make his NRL debut in Round 10.

Arrow targets Parker's jersey

Up and coming Brisbane lock Jai Arrow wants to make the Broncos' number 13 jersey his own next year as Brisbane prepare for life without captain Corey Parker. 

Parker is retiring at the end of the 2016 season, and with that the Broncos will lose just under 350 games of NRL experience.

Wayne Bennett has already started planning for 2017, with the veteran coach giving Arrow an unexpected debut in Round 10 of this year. 

The 21-year-old has now played seven games this season, and his eighth will be against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium.

 


Arrow has been almost faultless since making the jump to first grade – giving Brisbane a much-needed punch off the bench and only making one error in the process. 

He's part of an exciting next generation of Broncos stars that have taken the field this season, with Brisbane blooding six NRL debutants so far this year.  

Arrow has arguably the biggest opportunity out of the six debutants, with prop Jarrod Wallace off to the Gold Coast Titans at the end of the year and Parker's impending retirement. 

A reliable workhorse like his captain, Arrow told NRL.com that he wants to start in his preferred position of lock next year, but for the moment he is happy to be learning off a Broncos legend. 

"I definitely want to start next year at lock. Starting is always what you want to do as a rugby league player," Arrow said. 

"I find it easier to start rather than come off the bench and this is because of a couple of reasons. 

"After I warm-up I like to get straight into it and that's something I don't get to do on the bench. As well as this, when I'm on the bench I end up getting nervous and the only way for that to go away is to get out there. 

"To start next year would be a great honour, but for the moment I'm biding my time and enjoying the ride as it goes. We'll see what happens next year."

An Australian Schoolboy in 2012, Arrow has come through the Broncos' system and he is now ready to take the next step in his rugby league career. 

It's been a rapid rise to first grade, with Arrow playing for the Norths Devils in the Intrust Super Cup at the start of the year – never expecting to play NRL in 2016. 

But he is now a regular in a star-studded Broncos line-up that contains a number of players he grew up idolising. 

Surrounded by his idols, Arrow said that although he still doesn't feel like an NRL player, he is starting to feel confident in himself and is looking forward to the future. 

"I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself, but I've found I've built up a lot of confidence because of my experiences so far this season," he said.  

"I wouldn't say I feel like a first grade footballer, but I'm starting to build that confidence and I'm getting used to NRL level. 

"All I can really do is try and build from here and create my own future."