Broncos dent Dragons' finals hopes
Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford starred as Brisbane cemented their position in the competition's top four with a 24-12 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Milford had a hand in two tries and scored one of his own as he ran riot over a desperate Dragons side that now sits ninth and on the verge of missing out on the finals.
St George Illawarra must now win their remaining two fixtures and hope results go their way and it is a task that will be made even harder, with Euan Aitken set to miss time after going down with a shoulder injury late in the match.
The Broncos are not without injury concerns of their own, with bench forwards Jai Arrow and Tevita Pangai Junior both struggling to finish the match.
Brisbane went into half-time with a 14-6 lead and it was not long before they extended it after the break.
Alex Glenn grabbed his second try in the 50th minute, crossing the line courtesy of a superb short-ball from lock Josh McGuire. Milford added the extras to give the Broncos a 14-point lead.
The Dragons returned serve in the 57th minute when Tim Lafai crossed for a four-pointer, and when Gareth Widdop kicked truly moments later his side were back in it, trailing by just eight.
But any chance of a St George Illawarra comeback was snuffed out in the 68th minute, with winger Corey Oates scoring a spectacular diving try in the left corner. Milford sprayed his conversion attempt and the score stayed at 24-12 with ten minutes to go.
That is how it remained and the signs were there early for St George Illawarra when the scoring opened in extraordinary circumstances, much to the Dragons' detriment.
Josh Dugan knocked on trying to diffuse a Milford cross-field kick and Glenn pounced on the loose ball to give his side the perfect start to the clash.
Dugan continued his horror beginning to the match in the 11th minute, knocking on over the try-line courtesy of a desperate Oates tackle.
But class players do not stay down for long, and Dugan proved it in the 16th minute, putting through a beautiful grubber kick for Paul Vaughan to score under the posts. Widdop then put his side up 6-4 with the conversion.
The Broncos hit back in the 20th minute, with Milford stepping his way through the Red V's defence to score. He could not convert his own try to keep the score at 8-6 in Brisbane's favour.
Wayne Bennett's men continued to show their strength in attack and this time it was Ben Hunt who stepped up. Hunt showed his future club what awaits them in 2018, latching onto a Herman Ese'ese offload before putting in a flawless cross-field kick for Kahu. Kahu scored untouched and Milford kicked his first of the night to give his side a 14-6 lead at the break.
Brisbane Broncos 24 (Glenn 2, Kahu, Oates, Milford tries; Milford 2 goals) defeated St George Illawarra 12 (Vaughan, Lafai tries, Widdop 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time: Broncos 14-6. Crowd: 31,832. Holden Cup: Broncos 46-12.
Unofficial NRL.com votes: 3 votes: Anthony Milford. 2 votes: Alex Glenn. 1 vote: Josh McGuire.