Attempting to avoid an unwanted record and send club legend Darius Boyd out a winner, Brisbane coach Peter Gentle has dismissed any suggestion Thursday's NRL derby against North Queensland is a pointless fixture.
The last-placed Broncos have to beat the Cowboys and hope results fall their way to have any hope of avoiding the first wooden spoon in the club's history.
Thursday's game will also be the final match in ex-captain Boyd's 336-game career and after a horror 2020 at Red Hill, Gentle says giving the 33-year-old an appropriate send off is the main motivation for his team.
Hampering those efforts, however, is the imposition of new experimental rules by the NRL for the fixture.
Announced on Tuesday, offside penalties will result in set restarts while scrums won't be packed when the ball is kicked into touch under the rules being trialled in Thursday's game.
Gentle said the lateness of the announcement had left his team unable to train for the new rules properly.
"They might not see this game as important," Gentle said.
"We see it as vitally important.
"From behind our walls here, this is a vitally important game for plenty of reasons."
Gentle said while the rules trial, which will also be applied for Manly's game against the Warriors, was frustrating it was also the same scenario for both teams.
"It is what it is, we've had to deal with a lot of not ideal situations this year and this is another one," he said.
"The only criticism is probably that it came through late. It came through yesterday and we've only got the captain's run ... we'll see how they go."
There'll be plenty of experimentation in both team's line-ups with Kotoni Staggs moving to five-eighth from centres for the Broncos with Jesse Arthars.
David Fifita's ankle injury allows Jordan Riki to slot straight into the backrow following suspension with Payne Haas also back after a week off for personal leave.
The Cowboys, who are hoping to send premiership-winning forwards Gavin Cooper and John Asiata in their final appearances for the club off on a victorious note, have named Josh McGuire at prop after he missed last week's loss to Penrith due to suspension.
KEY MATCH STATS
* A loss in this match would guarantee Brisbane pick up the first wooden spoon in the club's 33-season history.
* Brisbane have won five of the past six matches against North Queensland including a victory over the Cowboys in Townsville earlier this year.
* Broncos fullback Darius Boyd will be playing the 337th and final game of his NRL career, putting him ninth on the all-time appearances list.
Australian Associated Press