Their halves combination continues to fire, as the Brisbane Broncos coasted home to a comfortable win against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
On the back of two straight losses whereby the side was caught off-guard and overpowered, the Broncos were back to their dominant best as they dispatched a Dragons side that just could not score points or penetrate the Broncos line.
It was Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt that led from the front as the Dragons had no answer for their rampant display, as the Broncos 16th win of the season moves them into outright first on the premiership ladder.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the game, though, came with the Dragons naming forward Jack de Belin to play halfback in the absence of Benji Marshall, a move that baffled many fans.
It did not pay off, as the Dragons were overpowered by a hungry Broncos side and steely defensive resolve that prevented the red and white’s from scoring.
It all looked quite bleak for the Dragons throughout the clash but they did score a consolation try in the end, through winger Justin Hunt.
There could have been more points on offer for the Dragons, if it were not for their error-rate and some sturdy defence by the Broncos, a well-known trait of theirs.
It was the Anthony Milford show as the live-wire half ran, dodged, dipped, ducked and dived his way to a man-of-the-match performance that drew praise galore from stand-in skipper, Corey Parker.
He’s deceptively strong,” said Broncos skipper Corey Parker.
“He’s only a small guy but he’s got some good core strength and you get him with the ball in hand and a metre to move and he skips across a couple and shrugs one off and offloads. He’s still building nicely.”
Dragons coach Paul McGregor justified his decision to play de Belin at halfback, citing a need to improve defence.
“I just thought defensively to start the game we needed our best defensive side out there and Jack’s a part of that and got ‘Gaz’ (Widdop) to play on the ball but we just couldn’t get across that stripe,” McGregor said.
“You never like to change a side but some have been forced. Drew is still learning the trade and it was a very important game and to put him under that pressure from the start is not the right thing to do.”
One of the unsung heroes of the Broncos side is prop Adam Blair, who has led the club from the front and he also drew praise from Parker.
“He’s been missed for the last two weeks, just his little things around the ruck,” Parker said.
“Obviously I play alongside him probably more than most but it is just the little things around the ruck that has really helped the side. There’s no stat on it but they are little effort things that go a long way towards winning games so it was good to have him back.”
Player of the Game:
3. Anthony Milford
2. Ben Hunt
1. Adam Blair