Dolphins playmaker Anthony Milford is set for an extended run at five-eighth after halfback Sean O'Sullivan sustained a torn pectoral in the 18-12 loss to Brisbane.
Coach Wayne Bennett said he made a game-day decision to play Milford at No.6 against the Broncos on Friday after 19-year-old regular five-eighth Isaiya Katoa did not recover in time from an elbow injury.
Milford, a 207-game veteran, created a try with a grubber for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and had a decent game at Suncorp Stadium for someone who hadn't played NRL since August last year.
The 28-year-old was a mainstay of Bennett's Broncos team from 2015 to 2018 but started this season in Queensland Cup after Katoa outshone him in pre-season.
"There is a good opportunity for him now," Bennett said of Milford.
"He did enough tonight to make me happy enough to keep him there.
"Isaiya will probably come into halfback. We made him into a five-eighth but he is a halfback, Isaiya."
The coach added that Katoa was "pretty close to playing" against the Broncos and expected him to be fit to take on St George Illawarra next Saturday night in Wollongong.
The news wasn't so good for O'Sullivan who came off in the 61st minute after enjoying a stellar start to the season.
"It looks like he has done a pec by the sound of it so I don't think we'll have him for a little while now," Bennett said.
Bennett believes that if suspended hooker Jeremy Marshall-King had played the Dolphins would have won.
To compound their injury woes, experienced utility Kodi Nikorima left the field with a deep cut to the head in the 26th minute, just two minutes after he had come on.
That left Mason Teague and Ray Stone to share the dummy-half role, with neither of them regular No.9s.
"If we'd had a hooker we would have done a hell of a lot more," Bennett said.
"Halfback's gone. Hooker's gone ... and we are still in there at 14-12 ... incredible.
"You need those key players in key positions. They weren't there. We were so brave to keep ourselves in the game and that's what was a miracle."
Winger Tesi Niu injured his knee early, had it strapped and battled on for the entirety on one leg.
Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich said Niu epitomised the fabric of the Dolphins club with his commitment.
"For a young guy to do that and put his body on the line for the team just shows you what kind of club we want to be and what kind of club we are," he said.
"Wayne gave him a huge wrap in the sheds for the way he was able to push through when we didn't have any backs that could play there. He did a really good job and toughed it out."
Australian Associated Press
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