The Big Four at the Wests Tigers has now been reduced to the Large Three. On Friday night in Brisbane, with Mitchell Moses at Parramatta and Luke Brooks injured, it was all at the feet of the Reasonably Sized Two.
Aaron Woods toiled admirably and James Tedesco, well, let's just say fullbacks have enjoyed brighter pre-Origin tune ups. Both were powerless for a hopelessly outgunned side, rudderless without key halves and under the new management of Ivan Cleary.
To compound a rough night for the Tigers, Josh Aloiai was taken from the field late in the match with a gruesome dislocated patella. That sort of injury could rule him out for at least three months.
A 36-0 scoreline was no doubt worse than Cleary had hoped for, but few held out much hope for the undermanned visitors. With drizzle around all day, even the crowds decided to stay home. By Broncos standards, 21,197 fans doesn't cut the mustard.
Brisbane, now with six wins in succession, are becoming a well-oiled rugby league machine and mercy has never been part of their DNA. They showed none against the Tigers.
First Wests cracked, then ruptured, then split right down the middle. Anthony Milford toyed with them at times and would almost certainly be on stand-by for Johnathan Thurston in the Queensland camp, if Wayne Bennett decides to let him attend.
He had a hand in three tries and scored one of his own, while James Roberts reminded Blues selectors that if they are in need of some wheels in the three-quarter line, they need look no further.
The only down side for Brisbane was a nasty head knock to hooker Andrew McCullough after 58 minutes. In trying to tackle Kyle Lovett, he put his head in the wrong place and was out cold on the turf, bleeding profusely.
Both trainers showed immediate and serious concern and he was quickly driven from the ground, with trainers cradling his head and neck. Reports indicated he was awake as he headed down the tunnel and the neck protection was precautionary in nature.
The reshuffle took some wind out of the Broncos but the Tigers quite simply couldn't buy a try. Tedesco managed to have three disallowed on his own; one for offside, one for an obstruction and one for a forward pass.
It really wasn't his night. In the first half, he threw an intercept to Jordan Kahu, chased him down to make the tackle, held him down to get 10 minutes in the bin. Brisbane scored twice in his absence.
With Brooks (hamstring) missing, Jordan Rankin and Jack Littlejohn started in the halves. Their message from Cleary at halftime was to keep things as simple as humanly possible. They did their best but were no match for Milford and Kodi Nikorima, who campaigned behind a confident and controlled pack.
There was an intriguing interchange before the match as Maroons coach Kevin Walters responded to Bennett's claims that unless Milford was guaranteed a game for Queensland, he wouldn't be joining the squad.
With Thurston still under minor doubt, Walters would have been keen on Milford at least training with the group to ensure he was up to speed should he be required.
"I've got a box of chocolates for Wayne. I'm not sure about that one. Anthony Milford will be one of those in the firing line if Johnathan Thurston doesn't get up. We'll see how that one pans out," Walters said.