Milford magic ideal Barba prep
He made Paul Green's carefully constructed defence look shabby but if it helps North Queensland to limit the influence of Ben Barba on Friday night then the Cowboys will have Anthony Milford to thank for it.
Installing a defensive structure that can withstand wave upon wave of pressure was the key area Green addressed in his first pre-season as Cowboys head coach but the Canberra fullback exposed its frailties in the opening 10 minutes of the season with a superb piece of individual brilliance.
While the majority of Cowboys defenders were looking left, Milford darted down a short-blind side on the Cowboys' right side and opened up space for Edrick Lee to glide through and score next to the posts. From that point the Raiders were able to open up a 16-0 lead inside the opening 30 minutes and gave Green some ammunition to take into Monday's video session.
With Barba showing plenty of classy touches of his own in Brisbane's 18-12 win over the Bulldogs, it reinforced to Green the need to maintain trust in the defensive structures at all times.
"We don't need to do anything special, we just need to do what we do and do it well," Green said of preparing to take on Barba and the Broncos. "Each week you're going to come up against individual players that are very good. Last week, a couple of tries against the run of play, that wasn't a break down in our defensive systems, so there's 12 points off straight away.
"Milford was a bit of individual brilliance when he set up that short-side for Edrick Lee and again, our systems should have been better and as I said, we'll get better."
More than 40,000 fans are expected to flood in to Suncorp Stadium to witness Barba's first home game as a Bronco with Josh Hoffman and Ben Hunt retained as the halves pairing.
Often during the win over the Bulldogs Barba worked his way into first or second receiver and Green is conscious of the fact that with two such quality runners of the football involved heavily when in possession, the Broncos will bring an adjusted style of attack to the traditional Queensland derby.
"Having Hoffman and Barba playing in the team, they've both played a lot of fullback so they're obviously going to change the way they have traditionally attacked," Green said.
"It worked well for them last week and I'm sure, similar to us, they'll get better having spent more time together.
"They played well, they got the win down there which is always tough against Canterbury so they'll get a lot of confidence out of that and we need to be good. We're on their home ground and we need to be ready to play."