Milford back, Origin duo out for Brisbane

Star five-eighth Anthony Milford has been cleared to play for the Brisbane Broncos in their clash against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night.

Milford passed his fitness test on Friday morning and it means he will play his first match since dislocating his shoulder against the Sydney Roosters in Round 13. 

He will start with Ben Hunt in the halves, with Benji Marshall going back to the bench and Kodi Nikorima dropping out of the 17. 

 Asked if it was a risk to bring Milford back earlier than expected, coach Wayne Bennett said no extra damage could be caused to his shoulder as it already requires surgery at season's end. 

"Anthony is back. We hope it all goes well. He's done everything right with his rehab and he's as fit as we can get him. It's just a matter of getting out there and playing," Bennett said.

"There's no risk involved because he has to have an operation at the end of the season anyway so hopefully he gets through it. If not, well we've lost nothing."

But it is not all good news for the Broncos, with the side losing Queensland Maroons representatives Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire. 

The two forwards had a heavy workload in Queensland's 22-6 win over New South Wales on Wednesday night and Bennett said a week off would do them well.

"I am giving the forwards a rest. I think physically and emotionally they are pretty drained," he said.

"They have to play again on Thursday night so I thought it would be pretty unfair to give them three games in seven days. 

"You always know with the players. After the first two games they were adamant they would play but they didn't even argue with this one."

Brisbane have also decided to reshuffled their back five, with debutant Jamayne Isaako switching to fullback and New Zealand international Jordan Kahu moving to the wing.

This decision was due to a lack of depth in the Broncos' wing stocks following injuries to David Mead and Darius Boyd, and the extended absence of Corey Oates who is still suffering from a staph infection. 

"We're just short on wingers. Jamayne hasn't played on the wing and Jordan has," Bennett said.

"We got exposed a little bit on the wing against the Melbourne Storm when David Mead got a pretty serious injury early in the game so that's why he's out. 

"We are down to one winger now with Corey and David not here. 'Darbs' also isn't here. 

"I didn't need to weaken two positions. Jamayne plays fullback at Souths [in the Intrust Super Cup] and has been playing extremely well there and we all know what Jordan can do on the wing."


Photo: Scott Davis. Copyright: NRL Photos (Anthony Milford returns for Brisbane this weekend).