Broncos' Niu has need for speed: Coates

Laine Clark
Teen Tesi Niu could be the fastest man in the NRL, according to some of his teammates

The fastest player in the NRL?

Brisbane winger Xavier Coates doesn't even think he is the fastest player at his club.

Instead of revelling in the news that he has dethroned NRL speedster Josh Addo-Carr, teenager Coates reckons he may come off second best in a foot race with new Broncos fullback Tesi Niu.

Coates, 19, provided a rare highlight for the battling Broncos when he was clocked at 36.9kph as he streaked away for an intercept try in their last round 27-6 loss to Newcastle.

It eclipsed the benchmark for NRL flyers to date - a blistering 36.8kph by Melbourne's Addo-Carr in round two.

It gave Broncos fans something to smile about amid a horror four-game losing streak.

And they may yet be provided more joy in Saturday's derby clash with Gold Coast after Coates baulked at being the NRL's fastest, saying they hadn't seen Niu in full flight.

Niu is set to be unleashed against the Titans after Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold responded to their slump by demoting Jamayne Isaako and handing the exciting 18-year-old the No.1 jersey.

There was already plenty of hype surrounding Niu's starting debut after earning comparisons with Darren Lockyer at Red Hill.

Now Broncos fans are no doubt licking their lips in anticipation after Coates reckoned he would struggle keeping up with the Tongan international.

"Tesi has definitely got a lot of speed. We haven't done a race or anything ... (but) I wouldn't be surprised if he was quicker," Coates said.

"He will make an impact (at fullback)."

Former Brisbane captain Justin Hodges said thrusting Niu into the fullback role was a "great call".

"I think it was a change that needed to happen," he told Fox League.

"Jamayne Isaako has played some good football but we were just missing that spark.

"By all reports Tesi is a fast kid and that's what we need at the moment.

"The way the game has gone, you need speed - it's a great call."