Milford injury sends scare through Brisbane
ANTHONY Milford sent a scare through the Broncos after injuring his hamstring at the NRL Nines tournament on Friday night.
Milford, who will be assessed by doctors on Saturday, is set to be ruled out of the tournament after tweaking his left hamstring in the Broncos' disappointing 17-11 loss to the Cowboys at HBF Park.
The match was billed as the clash of the tournament titans with the Cowboys and Broncos both naming star-studded squads and installed among the title favourites by bookmakers.
But the Broncos' trophy hopes are teetering after the Milford setback was compounded by the sight of Cowboys young gun Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow torching Brisbane in a superb 70m footrace to the tryline.
With the Cowboys clinging to an 11-7 lead with four minutes to play, fullback Scott Drinkwater kicked ahead on his 30m line and watched as the "Hammer" streaked away to win the race for a 17-7 advantage.
Just moments before Tabuai-Fidow's match-winner, Milford jolted the Broncos by clutching at his leg and signalling immediately for treatment as he walked from the field.
Anthony Milford ruled out of #NRL9s day 2 after minor hamstring injury tonight. Did look minor in nature; a grade 1 hamstring strain would usually require 2-4 weeks recovery. If minor, provided no setbacks in rehab would expect him to be fine for Round 1— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) February 14, 2020
The injury does not appear serious but the Broncos are taking no chances with the club's highest-paid player, who is likely to be put on ice for Saturday's final do-or-die pool clash against the Storm.
"There is some talk Milf has done his hammy," Broncos Nines coach Kurt Richards said.
"We don't know the extent of it. We will get the doctors to look at him but I don't think I'll be risking him."
Richards lamented the Broncos' error-riddled performance.
Brisbane rarely built cohesion in attack and made unforced errors as the Cowboys did well to muzzle Broncos forward hulks David Fifita and Payne Haas.
"It was disappointing," the coach said. "We gave away costly penalties, we must have been penalised five or six times.
"That period in 'D' (defence) really cost us. Defending that many sets on our line left us gassed and we played too laterally after that.
"Hamiso has got some wheels. Jamayne (Isaako) probably missed his job there, he has to make sure he is working hard when he doesn't have the ball.
"Hopefully we can turn things around."
Cowboys coach Paul Green is naturally keen to temper the hype around Tabuai-Fidow but the 18-year-old is pure class.
The Australian Schoolboys star stands 186cm and shapes as an NRL superstar with his speed, evasion and footwork.
With Tabuai-Fidow, Drinkwater and Coen Hess impressing, North Queensland go into Saturday's clash against Manly with a real shot at winning another Nines tournament.
"I can't say his name so I just call him Hammer," Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo said.
"As soon as I saw the ball leave 'Drinky's' foot, I was like go Hammer, it was like watching Black Caviar race.
"He is right up there with the fastest guys I have seen.
"The way he plays and his personality off the field says a lot. He is a quiet kid, he is real chilled and just the way he runs, he looks effortless. He is a great young kid and he will definitely have a good career in the NRL.
"The Broncos were always going to be hard to beat, they had Fifita and Haas so we did well to handle them. Hopefully we kick on and win it from here."
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