A brilliant performance from Anthony Milford helps see the Broncos topple the Dragons 24-12 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. In wat was an overall ordinary game, the Broncos showed their class and created moments of brilliance that the Dragons could not handle.The win sees Brisbane take out their third straight game, and remain in second position comfortably. For the Dragons, another loss sees the likelihood of a finals spot diminish even more, with results needing to go their way from here on out.
Milford shines as the star-half
Anthony Milford has had an up and down season, but at the back end of 2017 his form is finally reaching its heights. Before McCullough’s injury, the Broncos struggled to incorporate two game breaking halves with Hunt and Milford. Now with Nikorima entering the starting line-up, Anthony Milford has the stage to himself to lead the Broncos at first receiver.
Paul McGregor said himself how brilliant Milford was, with his ball running completely dismantling the Dragons defence, similar to last week against the Sharks. Milford has developed a compelling image as arguably the best open-field ball runner in the competition, with a duo of speed and great footwork making him a consistent threat to defences. He scored a great solo try, fooling the defence with a dumby ball and scoring on the right edge. On top of that Milford’s passing game was great, setting up Corey Oates with a beautiful ball after a great solo run, as well as an assist to Alex Glenn for his second try.
Milford finished with 180 running metres and two line-breaks en route to arguably his best performance of the season. Moving into September the classy players tend to stand out and build up to their peak. As long as Milford can maintain his form, and hit his peak in the finals, the Broncos will be a hard team to beat.
Defensive pressure and speed = Brisbane’s forte
Brisbane has managed to pile on the points the last few weeks, with 110 points to be exact. Their defence however still remains their specialty, and it was no different against the Dragons.
The game was ordinary, with both sides showing great potential in their attack but equally committing unnecessary mistakes. What became the Broncos backbone, and what rattled the Dragons was the line speed of Brisbane’s defence, and managing to isolate the Dragons ability to move the ball around. The Dragons had periods of attacking pressure, but almost every time the Broncos had no trouble dealing with it. From their great commitment on defence, the Broncos managed to execute their own chances, showed great ball playing throughout their backline. The likes of Nikorima, Moga, Oates and Kahu all enjoyed solid outings.
Their goal line defence has been labelled the best in the competition, and their commitment and pace is something that has rattled the likes of the Storm in round three, and the Sharks last week so far in 2017.
Dugan struggles to ignite the Red V
The Dragons were overall a mixed side against the Broncos, with both positives and negatives in the game. This was not helped by Josh Dugan, who never seemed to impact game in a positive way. Dugan’s last outing at Suncorp Stadium was the third State of Origin instalment, in which he was below average in a disappointing performance for the Blues.
The worst possible start became a reality as Dugan bobbled a Milford bomb in goal, allowing Alex Glenn to pounce on the ball and give Brisbane an early 4-0 lead. From there Dugan knocked the ball on over the line, in what would have been a certain try for the Dragons to hit back. Dugan did manage to redeem himself and set up the Dragons opening try. However not much more would come out of the Dragons’ best player and others in the side would outshine him in an attempt to steal a win in Brisbane. What you expect out of star players is to life a team when it is needed.
All Dragons can do is wait and hope
A little over a month ago the Dragons were sitting firmly in the top eight, pushing to steal a top four spot off some of the heavyweight sides. Now it has turned on its head as the team need results to go their way to stay in the finals hunt. The Dragons executed a valiant effort to contend with the Broncos, keeping the home side on their heels for the majority of the game. Surprisingly the visitors controlled 55 percent of possession, and had a significantly better completion percentage that the Broncos. Missed opportunities will haunt the Dragons, and that aspect ultimately made the difference.
A tough game against the Panthers net week will be the indicator to weather the Dragons can resurface their form from earlier this season. Seeing both Penrith and Canberra climb the table the last couple of weeks, the Dragons need them both to lose as well as gaining two convincing wins, to jump back into the top eight and enter the finals with some momentum.
Tries: Glenn (2) (4m, 50m), Milford (20m), Kahu (33m), Oates (68m)
Goals: Milford 2/5
Tries: Vaughan (16m), Lafai (67m)
Goals: Widdop 2/2