Hunt and Milford inspire big Broncos win
The Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford show returned to Suncorp Stadium after a brief hiatus as the Broncos brushed aside the Dragons 32-6 in Friday night football.
Subdued in recent weeks on the back of Brisbane's two-straight losses against the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs, the competition leaders easily dispatched the disappointing Dragons courtesy of their star halves.
Hunt (two tries and one try-assist) and Milford (159 metres, one try and two try assists) had the ball on a string for the Broncos who recorded their eighth-straight win over the Dragons at Suncorp.
The 26-point win was Brisbane's 16th of the season, moving them to 36 competition points and outright leaders on the Telstra Premiership ladder after North Queensland's loss to the Rabbitohs on Thursday night.
Brisbane welcomed back Adam Blair, who contributed with 141 metres and 31 tackles, while Dale Copley replaced the suspended Justin Hodges in style by claiming a try and having another denied by the video referee.
Dragons back-rower Jack de Belin started at halfback in place of the injured Benji Marshall, but was largely unsighted as Gareth Widdop called the shots from five-eighth before under-20s half Drew Hutchison joined the action in the 52nd minute.
The Broncos led 16-0 at half-time despite having only 47 percent of possession and 11 tackles inside the opposition 20.
On the other hand St George Illawarra couldn’t take advantage of their 32 first-half tackles inside Brisbane's red zone, as their one-dimensional attack failed to crack Brisbane's line during the opening 40 minutes.
Brisbane posted first points in the sixth minute when Hunt's cut-out pass reached Jordan Kahu on the bounce and the Broncos winger crossed unmarked in the corner.
The Dragons soon received back-to-back sets deep in Broncos territory, but failed to capitalise when Widdop's probing grubber dribbled past the touch in-goal area.
St George Illawarra soon found themselves down by 12 points when Darius Boyd and Milford combined to send Lachlan Maranta over in the 19th minute.
The home team were denied another try moments later when Copley found the line only to be denied by the video referee due to obstruction.
The Dragons had a golden chance to claim their first try midway through the first half when a lackadaisical Kahu failed to deal with a Widdop grubber kick.
Opposite winger Justin Hunt came swooping in to ground the ball but failed to do so – much to the delight of the Suncorp Stadium crowd of 33,480.
Milford's solo effort close to the line handed Brisbane a 16-0 lead three minutes before half-time which they held until the break.
Brisbane's five-eighth soon found himself in the action again after the interval when his loose offload on the last tackle rolled into the path of Hunt, who kicked ahead for himself and planted the Steeden down for the fourth try of the night.
Milford converted Hunt's try to hand the Broncos a 22-0 lead after 46 minutes.
Kahu's 55th-minute break down the right touchline eventually lead to Hunt's second try as the Broncos caught the Dragons short on the opposite flank.
A sweeping backline play resulted in a try to Copley, who crossed for his first four-pointer of the season to hand Brisbane a 32-0 lead with 15 minutes to go.
The Dragons finally found the try-line when Widdop's cross-field kick was plucked out of the air by Justin Hunt and the English international converted the consolation try to take the score to 32-6.
St George Illawarra threw all they could at the Broncos in the dying stages of the Round 23 encounter, but Brisbane's brutal goal-line defence held strong until the final whistle.
Brisbane Broncos 32 (Ben Hunt 2, Jordan Kahu, Lachlan Maranta, Anthony Milford, Dale Copley tries; Corey Parker 3 goals, Milford goal) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 6 (Justin Hunt try; Gareth Widdop goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 33,480. Half-time: Broncos 16-0.