RESTED: Bronco Josh McGuire (centre) has been rested after Orign duty.
RESTED: Bronco Josh McGuire (centre) has been rested after Orign duty. PAUL MILLER

Broncos duo rested after Origin heroics

BRONCOS Origin duo Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire have been rested, but injured pivot Anthony Milford has received the green light for Saturday night's clash with the Knights in Newcastle.

The grind of State of Origin has caught up with Gillett and McGuire, who sat out Brisbane's captain's run on Friday after starring in Queensland's 22-6 win in the Suncorp decider.

But their absence has been offset by the return of Milford, who ran strongly on Friday and will face the Knights after missing the past five weeks with a shoulder injury.

Milford will start in the halves alongside Maroons debutant Ben Hunt in a scrumbase reshuffle that will see veteran playmaker Benji Marshall drop back to the bench.

Coach Wayne Bennett will tweak his backline, with young Jamayne Isaako to make his NRL debut at fullback after being named on the wing.

Exciting back-rower Jaydn Su'A is expected to replace Gillett on Brisbane's right edge, while hard-working Jai Arrow has been called up to fill the boots of McGuire.

Milford needs surgery on his shoulder at some stage but Bennett is hoping the attacking whiz can get through the final three months of the NRL season and propel the Broncos to the finals.

"Anthony is back, we hope it all goes well," Bennett said.

"He has done everything right in rehab and he's as fit as we can get him to go now, so it's just a matter of getting him out there playing.

"It's not a risk, it's a 50-50 chance. 

"The doctors say he needs an operation at the end of the season anyway. Hopefully we can get him through and if not, we've lost nothing.

"He's not as bad as Johnathan Thurston, he had to have an operation. But the doctor believes Milford can get through with a bit of luck and we are chasing that luck."

Bennett backed the dynamic Isaako to trouble the Knights from fullback, with Kiwi Test utility Jordan Kahu to shift to the wing.

"We are short of wingers," he said. 

"Jamayne hasn't played on the wing and Jordan has and we got exposed there last week when David Mead got a pretty serious injury. 

"Jamayne plays fullback at Souths Logan and he is plaing extremely well there. He is young and enthusiastic and has a lot of ability. He has improved a hell of a lot since he has been here and he is starting to turn into a good young professional. 

"People will enjoy watching him play. He has great speed, great energy and a high skill level so he will do well."

Bennett said the Broncos would not take the last-placed Knights lightly as the super coach prepares to return to the Newcastle club he once coached.

"I don't think we will be complacent," he said. "They are a quality footy team, better than their win-loss record suggests. 

"They had St George on the rack three weeks ago and Canterbury and managed to lose those games. The Dragons are in the top five or six teams so no-one is complacent in this place."

Of his Origin duo McGuire and Gillett, Bennett said: "Physically and emotionally they are pretty drained. We have to play again next Thursday night so I thought it was pretty unfair to give them three games in seven days.

"You always know with the players. They didn't even argue on this one, the first two games they were adamant they'd play but today there was no argument."

News Corp Australia


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