Anthony Milford’s career is in limbo as the Brisbane star prepares to play reserve grade this weekend while coach Kevin Walters faces the grim reality of what lies ahead.
The five-eighth was dropped for the Broncos’ clash with Penrith on Thursday night and Walters has revealed he faces a month on the sidelines to regain the confidence and form that once made him one of the NRL’s most dangerous attacking weapons.
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Milford starred in the run to the 2015 grand final and in 2017 signed a monster four-year, $4 million deal to make him one of the game’s highest-paid players.
Panthers great Greg Alexander said last month said Milford had “stolen money from them (the Broncos) for the last four years” and Fox League host Yvonne Sampson believes Walters has been shocked by his playmaker’s decline.
Walters even said this week he was surprised Milford hadn’t quit the NRL, given the intense scrutiny he faces.
“I nearly fell off my chair last week when Greg Alexander said at $4 million for the last four years, he has been stealing money, he doesn’t deserve $1 extra,” Sampson told the Big Sports Breakfast.
“Brandy was right off the top rope there but generally they haven’t been able to see the value. Even Kev had to confirm that.
“He’s floored by what’s happened to Milford, the decline of Anthony Milford, especially since 2015, but more recently since he signed that big deal.
“He could end up in the (UK) Super League, or you would have to look at Anthony Milford to stay in the NRL but at a budget price, not at $1 million a year. You just couldn’t sign on the dotted line for that.”
Milford has been more cold than hot in recent years.Source:Getty Images
Walters has chopped and changed with Milford, Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden this season and stretching back to last year, Sampson said the Broncos have taken the field with nine different halves combinations in their past 15 games.
It was suggested Walters was sending mixed messages to his key players by flipping them around so often, and by dropping Milford just days after saying publicly the 26-year-old had played his best game of the year in a loss to South Sydney.
Sampson said the Broncos playmakers “panic” when it comes to completing sets, suggesting nobody is taking charge of their fifth-tackle options.
Raiders legend Laurie Daley believes there’s no shortcut to success at Red Hill.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix at the Broncos,” Daley told the Big Sports Breakfast. “It could be a couple of years before they turn this around. That’s my concern.
“Hopefully Kevvie will have the support to do that.”
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