St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty may not be in the Dragons' plans next year but he is driving up the asking price for whoever his future employer turns out to be.
The 25-year-old scored two tries and set up five more as the Red V overpowered Brisbane 52-24 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Thursday night.
The fullback's speed and slick passing were on full show with cut-out passes on both edges of the field highlighting the growth in his playmaking skills in recent times.
It was the first time the Dragons had hit 50 since a 54-8 win over the Titans in round three of 2018 and it is the highest single match score by an Anthony Griffin-coached team ever, beating the 50-24 win by Brisbane over Newcastle in round 13 of 2012.
Griffin praised Dufty's performance but said there was a lot more that goes into a re-signing decision than one good performance.
"It just helps Matt and it helps our team," Griffin said.
"He had a really good game, Matt. Made the most of the opportunities he got.
"[The contract situation] is not about one game or a performance. We need to enjoy tonight and it's been a tough month since the Storm. It's been a really tough month."
Match: Dragons v Broncos
Round 13 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Broncos coach Kevin Walters' headaches also include an ankle injury to Kobe Hetherington that forced him off in the second half and a possible high tackle charge for TC Robati, with the second-gamer sin-binned in the second half after scoring twice in the first.
Fullback Jamayne Isaako also had a shocker, letting in a bizarre and crucial try on the stroke of half-time and eventually getting the hook with 15 to go with four errors and three missed tackles next to his name.
The best news for Brisbane was the continued strong form of veteran playmaker Albert Kelly, who set up three first-half tries as the Broncos at one stage held an 18-12 lead.
Jack de Belin's first game in three years included a couple of shaky moments in defence but some positive contributions in attack in his 26-minute sting while Jack Bird's first ever run-on start in the back row included an early try and try assist on the Dragons' left edge.
Griffin welcomed the return of former Origin lock de Belin, whose ball-playing at the line played a role in two second-half Dragons tries.
"Legally he got cleared to play last week so it's been a big week," Griffin said.
"So probably after tonight it's put an end to the JDB stuff on how he'll play. I wasn't planning to play him initially but the way he went last Saturday in the NSW Cup he played really well.
Dragons save best for last as Dufty grabs a double
"To see him in the sheds tonight, in the NRL sheds I just thought it was great for him and the club.
"The fact he can come in and do that is going to help our team. You saw there tonight he hasn't lost that ability … We just need to keep him fit and keep building his minutes there."
Broncos winger David Mead opened the scoring in the eighth minute, winning the race to a well-weighted Kelly grubber before Bird hit back in the 13th supporting a clean break from Dufty.
Bird then helped his side into the lead for the first time in the 21st minute, producing a nice offload to put Brayden Wiliame into half a gap with the centre pushing away from some ordinary defence to touch down.
Bird relishing new edge role early as Wiliame crosses
Robati nabbed his first career try running off Kelly's right shoulder, with the five-eighth holding up a nice short ball to get his forward outside Corey Norman's left shoulder close to the line.
When Daniel Alvaro left the field in the 28th minute for a HIA, de Belin entered the action on for his first taste of NRL football since the 2018 finals.
Perhaps it was rust or over-eagerness, but his first real impact on the game was to rush up out of the line and leave a gap for Kelly to dart into and send Robati over for his second try in the space of four minutes.
A perfect Dufty cut-out pass to Gerard Beale handed the returning centre his first try since 2019 and got the Dragons back to level pegging at 18-all.
A scrum feed just inside Broncos territory with 16 seconds to go in the half gave the Dragons a 'Hail Mary' chance to take a lead into half-time and with the crowd thinking field goal, Corey Norman instead booted it into the Brisbane in-goal and Dufty hit the afterburners.
Isaako was well ahead and only needed to dive on the ball or boot it dead to ensure the game was level at the break but showed a lack of urgency and awareness to allow Dufty to streak past him and dive on the loose ball to hand the Dragons a 24-18 lead at half-time.
Isaako too casual and Dufty gets the Dragons into the lead before the break
Robati was sin binned and placed on report in the 44th minute for high contact on Poasa Faamausili with the Broncos' 12-man line cracked immediately - the Dragons ran a lovely shape to the left with Dufty providing the finishing touch with a cut-out pass for Ramsey to score.
A second try against the 12-man defensive line came soon after with Dufty again the provider for Josh Kerr to cross after some strong lead-up work from de Belin and the fullback had his fifth assist with a laser-like cut-out ball to Mikaele Ravalawa in the 57th minute.
Queensland discard Ben Hunt sent a reminder of his value to Maroons selectors with a solo try, stepping his way over under the posts in the 64th minute before Gamble clawed one back for the Broncos with a grubber for Jesse Arthars.
Ben Hunt makes a statement
The match couldn't be complete without one more contribution from Dufty though, the fullback showing his support skills as Hunt put in an enterprising short kick and regather to help his side hit the 50 mark inside the final two minutes.