Milford solid but fast ending Brisbane Broncos defeated Newcastle Knights
Tech Updates

Milford solid but fast ending Brisbane Broncos defeated Newcastle Knights

He may not have been able to inspire the Newcastle Knights to victory on Thursday night, but early signs were good for mid-season to recruit Anthony Milford.

The newly minted Knight played his first game in nine months and lived up to the hype against Brisbane, the club where he spent seven turbulent years.

Milford solid but fast ending Brisbane Broncos defeated Newcastle Knights

He swung between hero and villain during his time at Red Hill, but Milford proved on Thursday that he could be a knight in shining armor in Newcastle’s quest to save the season.

However, he will have to wait for his first Knights suit win; even without Adam Reynolds (groin injury), the Broncos soared in the second half to record their first five-game winning streak since 2017.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free while playing on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try now for 14 days for free.

The win was not without controversy; Dane Gagai had withdrawn a try for an apparent knock-on, after which Selwyn Cobbo had paid for one despite an obvious obstruction on the run.

But Knights coach Adam O’Brien refused to blame The Bunker for the loss.

“(The missed obstruction call) is no reason for that backlog at the end. It’s unforgivable,” he said.

“I understand it took a bit of wind out of its sails… It didn’t help.”

The second call opened the floodgates, and Brisbane cashed in; the final score (36-12) did not do justice to the Knights, who were the better side for most of the first 60 minutes.

“It was good. Tough win,” stand-in Broncos skipper Kurt Capewell told Nine.

“Obviously, it wasn’t how we wanted to play in the first half, but we handled it at halftime. It was good to see the guys showing a bit of resilience and fighting back.”

Despite the blowout and some wavering in the second half, Knights fans will have plenty to enjoy from Milford’s club debut.

“I thought he had some good touches early on. He’d like some stuff back in the second half,” O’Brien said.

The former Origin star looked dangerous on the right side, especially in the first half, and clearly had a calming influence on the underfire Kalyn Ponga.

The Knights chose to attack the right all night, and for a good reason: the combination of Milford, Dane Gagai, and Tyson Frizell will pose serious questions to opponents as the season progresses.

NSW Origin star Frizell has already proven to be a favorite target of Milford, scoring the first try on Thursday, and could hit the scoreboard more often in the coming weeks.

Milford’s willingness to take on game-making duties left Ponga free to roam as a fullback. If the two can perfect their chemistry, there’s no telling how powerful they could become as a double act.

“He will only grow,” Ponga said of Milford.

“He will gain confidence; that’s what we need from him. I thought he looked good out there.

“It was great being there with him, to be honest.”

What better chance for Milford to open his account as a knight than next weekend against the Mercurial Warriors.

Bradman takes second Best.

The Knights have been hampered by injuries all season, and Bradman Best looks set to be the next man to spend time in the emergency department.

The left-center barnstorming dislocated his elbow as he tried to break his fall in the second half. He played no further role in the game.

“It doesn’t look good,” O’Brien said.

“Bad call,” robs Gagai.

The Knights went into the sheds 6-6 but were probably unlucky not to be in the lead.

In his first game back from a broken cheekbone, Gagai juggled a Milford grubber and flopped for a try in the corner – or so he thought.

Replays showed the ball fell slightly out of Gagai’s grasp as he pressed it to the ground. The Bunker ruled that he failed to re-grab the footy in the split second before it hit the turf, and the try was withdrawn.

“That’s ridiculous,” Michael Ennis said in a comment.

“Dane Gagai lets go of his hand, the tip of his fingertips, to press the ball down with his forearm. It will never go away.

“That’s a bad decision.”

The missed opportunity came after Frizell bombed his second attempt.