Milford ready as Broncos go underground
Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford has been cleared fit to play on Thursday night, with Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett declaring his star half ready to fire against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a battle that will have major ramifications on the top four.
Milford failed to finish training on Monday with a leg complaint, but Bennett said he has recovered and got through a full session on Wednesday.
Bennett's word will have to be trusted, because in an unusual occurrence, the Broncos trained behind closed doors on Wednesday as they continued their preparations for Thursday night's blockbuster.
No cameras were allowed at Broncos training, with Bennett taking his side to Suncorp Stadium – putting them through their paces in privacy.
Brisbane are usually highly accommodating at their training sessions, with the media and the public being allowed to watch their every move, but as finals football approaches it appears the Broncos are upping their ante.
But Bennett denied the move to Suncorp was anything secretive, instead saying that his side just wanted a change of scenery.
"We just wanted a change of venue so we decided to go to Suncorp. We haven't been there all year," Bennett said.
"There are no secrets; we just needed a change of environment. Changing it up is good for the boys and they enjoyed it.
"A change of venue can freshen them up and it makes them realise where they have to be tomorrow night. They asked me if we could go there so I said we'd do it.
"We have three games in two weeks coming up so it's going to be tough. These tough games are what we need heading into the finals.
"Last year we had some tough games at the end of the year and that didn't hurt us."
The Bulldogs will certainly be tough, but the Broncos have been bolstered by the unexpected return of New Zealand international Jordan Kahu.
Kahu has had an injury-plagued season this year, with the 25-year-old playing just once since Round 14 because of a recurring pectoral injury.
He will return on the wing this week, with two-try hero Jonus Pearson the unlucky one to miss out after an excellent debut.
Kahu will start on Brisbane's right wing, but Bennett said a return to the centres is not out of the question in the coming weeks.
"I don't think Jordan is up to playing in the centres at the moment," he said.
"Hopefully he holds up okay because we've brought him back a couple of times and he's gotten reinjured.
"He looks fit, but he just needs to get some football behind him and with that confidence will come.
"Whether we move Jordan into the centres later on this season will be a decision we need to make in a week or two."
It means reliable centre Tom Opacic will again start this week in what has become a great rookie year for the 21-year-old.
Thursday night will be the sixth game of his NRL career after debuting in Round 16 for the injured Jack Reed.
English international Reed is still battling with a shoulder injury that has sidelined him indefinitely.