Broncos' Milford survives PNG fitness test

Anthony Milford was happy with his shoulder after a 35-minute stint in Brisbane's PNG trial win.
Anthony Milford was happy with his shoulder after a 35-minute stint in Brisbane's PNG trial win.

Be careful what you wish for, Anthony Milford.

The Brisbane playmaker wanted to test his recovering shoulder in his first game back from off-season surgery.

But he got a little more than he bargained for in their 26-12 trial win over PNG Hunters in Port Moresby on Saturday.

The classy five-eighth confirmed himself as a starter for their March 8 NRL season opener against St George-Illawarra after his shoulder emerged unscathed from his 35-minute comeback stint.

The pint-sized pivot revealed he had been "nailed" by the huge PNG defence but couldn't be happier with how his rebuilt shoulder held up.

"It was my first game back from my shoulder and I think there is no better way than to test it against the PNG boys," Milford told the Broncos' website.

"I think they did that.

"I had one guy run straight at me and nailed me 30 metres back. But if feels good. I am happy."

Milford said he was "ready to go" for round one against the Dragons, starting his new $4 million, four-year Broncos deal.

He was named on the bench against the willing Hunters and was quick to click with halfback Kodi Nikorima in Brisbane's final trial.

"It is something we can build on," Milford said.

"They kept us on our toes the whole game so we are pretty happy."

Milford's impressive return provides some relief for coach Wayne Bennett, who is sweating on captain Darius Boyd (hamstring) and inspirational hooker Andrew McCullough (knee) before the Dragons clash.

Prized recruit Jack Bird (shoulder) is expected to miss the first month of the season.

Prop Korbin Sims (concussion) was the only concern for Brisbane after the come-from-behind trial win.

The Hunters grabbed a surprise 12-6 halftime lead after Watson Boas scored off a grubber just before the break.

Brisbane scored three tries in 10 minutes early in the second half to almost silence the passionate, 15,000-plus crowd.

Former Queensland winger Corey Oates - trialling as a bench back-rower - delivered the killer blow with his late try.

Australian Associated Press