The Courier-Mail

MILFORD RETURNS TO STICK HIS MATE

- TODD BALYM

BRONCOS star Anthony Milford will return to Canberra for the first time today with no hard feelings about his dramatic exit.

Milford claims he is now a better player who is beginning to “see the game a lot clearer” now after he was caught in a tug-o-war between the Raiders and Broncos last season.

He wanted to return home to Brisbane but ultimately served out his Canberra contract under new coach Ricky Stuart last season.

The 20-year-old holds no animosity towards the Raiders for forcing him to see out his contract and said he and Stuart remain close friends despite having only had a year-long coaching relationsh­ip.

“I still keep in contact with a few of the lads down there,” Milford said. “I’ve got no bad blood down there.

“I’m still mates with Sticky (Stuart).

“He is a good lad and he is a friend of mine and I will keep going there to chat. I love Canberra.

“It will be all fun and games until we cross the white line and then I will try to do my best to make sure we come away with the win and they will do the same.

“There are no mates on the field.”

Milford will return to Canberra a vastly different player to the fullback who left last September, with his game being steadily transforme­d under Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.

Milford took some time to adjust to the No.6 jersey but his form in recent times is on the climb because the 20year-old is beginning to read the pace of the game better.

It is remarkable to think he has played 53 NRL games and his 21st birthday is still six weeks away.

“I’m feeling like I can just see more now that I’ve played more games,” he said.

“It does (feel like the game is slowing down) and I can just see the game a lot clearer than to when I first started.

“I’m not trying to win the game in the first minute or second minute, I’m trying to get into that grind and getting the boys to follow.”

One key change in recent weeks for Milford has been the consistenc­y in his decisionma­king.

At times he would second guess play calls, leading to confusion among his outside men.

Last week against Newcastle he tried to keep to the script after he had called plays and it meant Jack Reed made three line breaks and scored two tries.

 ??  ?? EYE OPENER: Anthony Milford has lifted his game since he left Canberra.
EYE OPENER: Anthony Milford has lifted his game since he left Canberra.

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