Help is on its way for Anthony Milford after Brisbane played down fitness fears for the rookie pivot’s bodyguard Alex Glenn ahead of Saturday night’s NRL qualifying final against North Queensland.
Back from a one week ban, Glenn raised eyebrows when he failed to finish Tuesday’s training session at Red Hill.
A Broncos official said he was “resting” ahead of his NRL return at Suncorp Stadium, in what must have been music to Milford’s ears.
Glenn provides welcome defensive cover for the pint sized Milford – cover that was sorely missed in last round’s 15-8 loss to the Storm in the Kiwi hardman’s absence.
With Glenn sidelined, Melbourne heavily targeted Milford from the outset in what looked like a sign of things to come in Brisbane’s first home final in four years.
But Broncos backrower Corey Parker insisted Glenn was right to return this weekend.
“We are just keeping him in cotton wool,” he said.
Parker backed Milford to bounce back to his best when he reunites with halfback Ben Hunt.
The classy No.7 had also missed the Melbourne game, with a cork.
“He was heavily targeted last week because we only had one playmaker, that worked out in Melbourne’s favour,” Parker said of Storm’s rough treatment of Milford.
“But this week it works out differently now we have a six and a seven.”
Parker backed their halves pairing to help keep Brisbane’s stellar recent finals record at Suncorp Stadium intact.
Melbourne are the only team to have beaten the Broncos in a Suncorp Stadium final since the venue’s redevelopment, pipping Brisbane 16-14 in 2008.
The Broncos have won all three home finals since.
“We saw what they can do against the premiers (47-12 win over South Sydney a fortnight ago),” Parker said of his side’s halves.
“They are a very important part of our side. We are going to need them to play a really good game along with everyone else.”
Brisbane have a 0-3 finals record against North Queensland, each loss ending the Broncos’ respective title runs.
But Parker believed the Cowboys would face a very different Brisbane to the one they bounced out of the 2014 finals race.
The Cowboys eliminated Brisbane from last year’s finals in the first round thanks to a 32-20 home win.
“Last year we fell over the line into the finals, went up there and got what we deserved and got knocked out straight away,” Parker said.
“This is a very different team to the one that last played the Cowboys.”
In contrast to last year’s erratic Broncos, Brisbane this year finished second on the NRL ladder with a 17-7 record – the same tally as third placed North Queensland.