North Queensland Toyota Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote is expecting a fired-up Brisbane Broncos for Thursday’s crucial Round 26 showdown on Thursday night.

Coote – who made a successful return from an ankle injury in the team’s eight-point win over Wests Tigers last weekend – said the NRL heavyweights will travel to Townsville still smarting from a last-start thumping at the hands of Parramatta, the upstart Eels putting 52 points on the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

“They’re going to be firing, no doubt,” Coote said.

“They wouldn’t have like what happened last game and heading into the finals, teams want to be playing well so there’ll be a lot at stake for them too, as there will be for us.”

The Cowboys can lock in a 2017 finals berth with a win in front of their home fans on Thursday, with a crowd of 24,000 expected to pack 1300SMILES Stadium.

Coote said after nearly four years in North Queensland, he fully understood what the Cowboys-Broncos rivalry was all about.

“These games do have sort of a different feel; we’ll take it a bit personal, and it promises to be a great battle,” he said.

“We’d love to get a good win and not have to worry about things that are not in our control.”

Coote said he recovered well from the Tigers game, and vowed to be at or close to 100 per cent on Thursday night.

“I actually pulled up from that last game better than I thought I would, so I’ll be ready to go again,” he said.

The game kicks off at 7.50pm Thursday.