Milford, Nikorima, Ofahengaue star as Broncos thrash Titans
Much-maligned Broncos halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima put in one of their most dominant joint performances of the season to sink Gold Coast's faint finals hope with a 34-0 victory in the southern Queensland derby at Cbus Super Stadium.
The pair had a field day as the Broncos dominated from the outset and had the error-riddled Titans on the back foot continually.
The Maroons cast-offs terrorized the Titans defence in a clash that was missing State of Origin players but still had plenty of class on show.
The Titans are now eight points behind eighth-placed Brisbane, with a -105 for-and-against. Canberra and Wests Tigers are the only remaining threats to the top eight.
Brisbane were far too classy, with lock Joe Ofahengaue also outstanding, against a Titans side that made too many errors, were penalised heavily early and had halfback Ash Taylor unable have any great influence on the game.
The future Maroons forward ran for 184m and made 34 tackles in a dominant display.
Match: Titans v Broncos
Round 17 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
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Their last two visits to Cbus Super Stadium has reaped 88 points to the Titans' zero.
It took the visitors less than three minutes to get on the scoreboard through brilliant youngster Nikorima.
The plan by the Broncos forwards was to bait Titans' forward and former Brisbane under-20s player Keegan Hipgrave who was involved with minor dust-ups with Sam Thaiday and Matthew Lodge.
After a penalty against Hipgrave, the Broncos went into Titans' territory and Staggs, who began at right centre, stood up Dale Copley with a right foot step and found Nikorima backing up on the inside.
A penalty goal in the ninth minute by Jamayne Isaako made it 8-0 and the score reflected Brisbane's early dominance.
Kevin Proctor was denied the chance to put Gold Coast in the game when a pass from Ash Taylor that put him on the way to the try-line was ruled forwards in a 50-50 call.
Soon after, the Broncos gained possession from a strange decision where Henry Perenara ruled a "bobble" in a play the ball by Ryan James, and Staggs was in for a four-pointer of his own. Milford called the ball right and Ofahengaue fed Staggs, who finished well.
In the 31st minute, off yet another penalty to Brisbane in the ruck (Proctor for leg pulling), Darius Boyd scored their third try of the half for a 20-0 half-time lead.
It took almost 20 minutes of the second half for the Broncos to post their fourth try, after two Isaako penalty goals, when Joe Ofahengaue scored too easily through a gap on the right edge – against after a penalty and error in possession by the Titans gifted them possession. That made it 30-0.
Brisbane's left winger Jonus Pearson picked up his first NRL try in the 75th minute, and celebrated accordingly, as the Titans' misery continued.
News & notes: Two players set to have big impacts on the game lasted less than a quarter of the match – Titans aggressor Keegan Hipgrave (17 minutes) and Kotoni Staggs (27 minutes) who didn't return from the HIA visits (Staggs cleaned up in a great tackle by Moeaki Fotuaika) ... Brisbane have won 19 of 25 derby clashes against the Titans ... Two of the youngest forwards in the NRL who were Keebra Park High School teammates in 2016, 18-year-olds David Fifita and Moeaki Fotuaika, neither turns 19 until after the season is completed ... Crowd: 18,005.