Perseverance key to unlocking Moga's best
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett believes Brisbane are starting to see the full potential of hulking centre Tautau Moga as the 23-year-old begins to have confidence in his own ability.
Moga starred in the Broncos' 32-10 win over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Friday night, scoring two tries and running for 200 metres in a barnstorming display.
Previously at the Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys, Moga joined Brisbane for the 2017 season and struggled to find his feet during the early stages of the year.
Moga understandably struggled to back himself at his new club, with doubts lingering in the back of his mind after enduring three serious knee injuries before the age of 22.
But Bennett persisted with Moga, naming him in Brisbane's side week after week to try and unlock the gifted athletic ability that once saw the Samoan international compared to Israel Folau.
And the Suncorp Stadium crowd were treated to glimpses of that talent on Friday night, with Moga scoring the first double of his Broncos career.
It is something Bennett hopes to see more of heading towards the finals as Brisbane try and snap an 11-year premiership drought.
"Of course it's confidence. The Broncos are good at giving you confidence," Bennett said.
"When I first saw him at training I just couldn't work out why I hadn't seen him in first grade more than I had. I realised he was a pretty talented person.
"He's had three knee reconstructions so it's been a whole different journey for him.
"He had to rebuild his confidence and I realised that, and I realised that putting him in one week and taking him out another week wasn't going to do that.
"I was happy to get us to this point of the season where I wanted him playing really well and I was confident he would be."
A key to Moga's form on Brisbane's left has been five-eighth Anthony Milford who played his role to perfection against Cronulla.
Milford was Man of the Match, running rings around the Sharks' defensive line to help the Broncos pile on five tries.
Captain Darius Boyd was full of praise for Milford after the match, labelling his No.6 as a "class player".
"Milford's a class player and we all know that. We want him touching the ball as much as possible because we know special things happen when he does that," Boyd said.
"I thought our forwards and our defence was what gave guys like him the chance to do those things. You can't do that on the back of poor defence."
The Broncos have now won four out of their past five matches and sit second on the competition ladder.
Fans are dreaming of going all the way in 2017, but Bennett is not even thinking about grand final glory.
"I'm not thinking about winning the competition right now. I just want to get through the next three weeks in good shape by playing good football," Bennett said.
"If you go through the next two or three weeks not playing well then it usually ends in tears for you."