Parker-fired Broncos pack worries Cowboys

The thought of an in-form Anthony Milford concerns North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurston.

But it’s a Corey Parker-inspired Brisbane pack that troubles Thurston most ahead of Friday night’s NRL sudden-death semi-final in Townsville.

Thurston admits he has seen ominous signs from Milford ahead of what looms as another epic Queensland derby.

The livewire pivot has been a key to Brisbane’s six-game winning run that put them on a collision course again with the NRL defending champions.

“We have seen throughout the year what they can do when presented with a broken line,” Thurston said of Milford, who has crossed for a career-high 14 tries this season.

“They can score points from anywhere in the park, especially Milf – he is a freak.

“He just needs a bit of space. Our right edge has a big job to do.”

However, a Brisbane pack determined to send retiring lock Parker out a winner is sounding alarm bells for Thurston.

“Their forward pack is really standing up now,” he said.

“They have got some real intent in their defence.

“They are screaming off the line, tackling in numbers and slowing the ruck down.

“Their forward pack has turned their season around.”

Thurston considered Queensland and Test teammate Parker a friend.

But it did not stop him from hoping Parker played his 347th and final NRL game on Friday night, leaving him as the fourth most capped of all time.

“He’s a legend of their club,” Thurston said.

“Those boys will be looking to extend his career.

“I have played a lot of football against him and alongside him.

“He is a great mate of mine…but it has to come to an end sometime.”

Cowboys prop Matt Scott did not have to be reminded of what was coming on Friday night.

“I think Brisbane have shown the type of footy they are capable of the last month,” he said.

“They have been winning and still probably haven’t been playing their best, that’s a scary thought.

“Guys like Anthony Milford coming into form is a bit of a worry for us.

“And Parker is going to be motivation for them – that’s just something we have to deal with.”

Asked about Parker, Scott smiled and said: “He has had a wonderful career – it would be nice to see him have his last game here on Friday.”

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