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Milford injury blow in Brisbane NRL win

NZN 9/06/2017 Laine Clark

Queensland will need a new Johnathan Thurston understudy for State of Origin game two after Anthony Milford was ruled out for at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

But the injury could not stop Brisbane from downing South Sydney 24-18 in Friday night's NRL clash at Suncorp Stadium, snapping a two-game losing run in front of a 30,578-strong crowd.

After making his Queensland debut in Origin I, five-eighth Milford had been expected to be retained by Maroons coach Kevin Walters for game two on June 21 as cover for Johnathan Thurston (shoulder).

However, Walters will need to go back to the drawing board after Milford fell awkwardly trying to dive onto the ball in the 72nd minute.

"He dislocated his shoulder. It has gone back in but we are looking at a six week process at least," Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said.

"Then we will see where we are after that, see if he can go the rest of the season."

All eyes were on Milford's halves partner Kodi Nikorima before the match after he sensationally replaced star No.7 Ben Hunt for the round 14 clash.

Hunt looked set for an extended stint in the Queensland Cup after being surprisingly demoted by Bennett to find form.

But Hunt will be rushed back into the line-up next match after Milford went down and Nikorima failed to embrace his big chance against the Rabbitohs.

Nikorima did a pretty good impersonation of the dumped Hunt from the outset - for all the wrong reasons.

In scenes almost identical to Hunt's now infamous 2015 NRL grand final gaffe, Nikorima knocked on from the kick-off in a nightmare start to the game.

His luck rarely changed.

Although he helped set up standout backrower Matt Gillett's 19th minute try but he was repeatedly exposed in defence.

Souths centre Bryson Goodwin outjumped him to score in the 25th minute before Sam Burgess steamrolled Nikorima to cross in the 45th and lock up the scores at 12-12.

However, it didn't stop Brisbane from inflicting the Rabbitohs' third-straight defeat.

"I can't fault the effort. It's just little key moments that let them off the hook," Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said.

"I actually think we are a lot closer (to turnaround) than what a lot of people think."

Gillett and Brisbane's incumbent Queensland fullback Darius Boyd proved the difference, to ensure some more food for thought for Walters.

Walters will decide whether to replace Boyd with Billy Slater at fullback when he names his Origin II team on Monday.

Brisbane led 12-6 at halftime before Burgess trampled Nikorima to score.

Brisbane centre Tautau Moga was denied a 53rd minute try due to poor grounding but the Broncos sealed the result with tries to Jordan Kahu (58th minute) and Sam Thaiday (63rd).

Meanwhile, South Sydney's Zane Musgrove may come under scrutiny for a 32nd minute hit on Kahu.

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