Broncos v Rabbitohs: Five key points
Anthony Milford sends a scare through the Broncos and Maroons camp, the Burgess brothers stand up, the Rabbitohs gamble on short restarts fails to deliver and Kodi Nikorima has an eerie start replacing Ben Hunt in the halves.
Milford sends scare through Broncos camp
Ben Hunt's tenure in reserve grade could be short-lived after Anthony Milford left the field clutching at his left shoulder eight minutes from full-time on Friday night.
With the ball bouncing wildly inside Broncos' territory, Milford dived with left arm outstretched to try and secure possession for his side but did more damage than good, taken from the field and his left arm immediately placed into a sling.
Milford and Kodi Nikorima were preferred by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett as the starting halves against the Rabbitohs but if the early diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder is proven to be correct Milford is likely to be absent for at least a couple of weeks, opening the door for Hunt to make a rapid return.
Burgess boys finally fire as one
Sam Burgess's contribution to South Sydney's efforts has never been in question but the Rabbitohs showed what a tough team they can be to contain thanks to two high-energy efforts from twins George and Thomas on Friday night.
As the Rabbitohs dominated early possession Thomas and George got the team on the front foot with charges from deep that have become all too rare in recent times.
Thomas racked up 89 metres in his first 22-minute stint and finished with 134m, George registered 63 metres from just six carries early in the contest and Sam again did everything he could to inspire his teammates, brought down inches short of the try-line in the first half and then scoring five minutes into the second half to bring his side back level, finishing with 139m and 34 tackles.
Nikorima's eerie audition for No.7 jersey
Broncos fans could have been forgiven for thinking Ben Hunt had earned a late recall when the kick-off got spilled 10 metres out to the right of the posts but Kodi Nikorima's night thankfully got a lot better.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett showed great faith in the undefeated Nikorima-Milford combination by relegating Hunt to the Intrust Super Cup and by and large he repaid that confidence, particularly in attack.
After copping heavy pressure from Robbie Farah with his first kick of the night Nikorima played short to Korbin Sims before wrapping around and hitting Matt Gillett close to crash over midway through the first half.
Replaced by Benji Marshall in the 56th minute, Nikorima's diminutive stature was exposed when Bryson Goodwin leapt high to take an Adam Reynolds bomb and Sam Burgess ran at him at every opportunity but his perfect record as Milford's halves partner remains intact.
Rabbitohs strike-out with short restarts
It's becoming a more used option throughout the Telstra Premiership but the Rabbitohs could find no joy with the three short restarts they attempted as they chased down points in the second half.
Trailing 22-12 Adam Reynolds' short kick-off after the Sam Thaiday try failed to go the 10 metres and not even some play-acting from Broncos winger Jordan Kahu enough to convince the officials that he had touched it.
With Brisbane pressuring their line South Sydney went for a short drop-out and again failed to reach the required distance and after the Broncos kicked the ensuing penalty goal from in front of the posts the short kick-off sailed too far and was safely taken by the Broncos.
Milford's kicking game a mixed bag
If he's going to be Brisbane's first-choice kick option in the wake of Ben Hunt being dropped Anthony Milford needs to raise his standards so his side can build pressure in the big games that are to come.
A brilliant runner of the football, Milford sent an early grubber kick over the dead-ball line that Corey Parker described in commentary as finishing "on Milton Road" and a great idea for an early kick to Darius Boyd late in the half was good in theory but was let down in execution.
His skill in putting boot to ball was on full display when he squeezed a kick in behind the South Sydney defence for Jordan Kahu's try but by the end of 80 minutes the Rabbitohs had forced three line drop-outs to Brisbane's zero. That needs to change in the weeks to come.