Hunt ready for Cronk challenge
Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt says he is ready to test himself out against the best in the game, and the 26 year-old hopes coming up against Australian internationals Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith will bring out the best in him come Friday night's blockbuster clash with the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.
Cronk is the form half of the competition, leading the Dally M count as it headed behind closed doors back in Round 16.
He was joined at the top of the leaderboard by teammate and captain Smith, as well as North Queensland enforcer Jason Taumalolo and Gold Coast Titan Ryan James.
Cronk's form has only improved in the past two months, but Hunt is hoping he can outplay him on Friday and help his side to an upset win in the process.
"I think everyone likes testing themselves against quality opponents," Hunt said.
"Smith and Cronk are the best so it'll be a great test.
"I think Cronk is one of the best halves in the game and every time I come up against him I really enjoy it.
"Hopefully this week I can get a leg up on him and help get us a tough win in Melbourne."
The Broncos know it will be a hard-hitting battle, with Wayne Bennett's men suffering a huge defeat against the Storm in Round 17.
Brisbane's defensive structure went out the window in that 48-6 loss as Melbourne ran in eight tries to one.
It was a performance described as 'un-Bronco like', but Hunt believes his side can turn it around – citing their last-start 20-10 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs as proof of that.
Brisbane were defeated 40-14 by the Bulldogs in Round 16, but a 36-point turnaround ensured they got their revenge last Thursday night.
"Since we played the Storm our defence has improved from week to week," he said.
"We showed against the Bulldogs last week that we can defend really well now and that's what we're going to have to do on Friday night.
"Playing the Storm is really good coming into the finals because you want to be playing the best teams at this time of the year.
"It will show us where we stand in the competition."
Star five-eighth Anthony Milford will be vital in the Broncos' quest to beat Melbourne so it's vital he is 100 per cent heading into the clash.
The 22-year-old is on a relaxed training regime this week as Brisbane officials monitor his progress.
Milford has played every NRL game for the Broncos in 2015 and 2016, and Hunt said Brisbane were doing everything in their power to make sure he stays fit and continues to manage the heavy workload.
"Yeah Milford's alright. We're just monitoring him really," he said.
"He's a player we need out there so we need to keep him fit and healthy. That's all a big part of this time of the year.
"There were a couple of other boys who didn't train on Monday as well because we are just trying to manage everyone.
"It's about trying to get your best team on the park and if that means someone misses one session then we are happy to do that."