Anthony Milford produced one of the most sizzling individual displays of 2014, singlehandedly inspiring Canberra to a 36-20 victory on the Gold Coast – the battling Raiders’ first win since Round 11.
Milford, who turned 20 on Friday, scored two brilliant tries after accepting return passes from players he put through holes, while also producing two more breathtaking try assists.
Sunday’s result was a standout highlight in a season where little has gone right in the capital, but Milford’s form would have been bittersweet for coach Ricky Stuart and the Raiders’ faithful given he is destined for Brisbane at the end of the year.
Where the Broncos play Milford will be one of 2015’s most intriguing line-up decisions. He has been earmarked for the troublesome five-eighth role, but would arguably provide maximum value as roaming fullback – and high-profile recruit Ben Barba has been underwhelming in his first season in the No.1 at Red Hill.
At this stage, current pivot and wannabe fullback Josh Hoffman is still contracted to the club; the Kiwi Test star is reluctant to play on the wing, where he starred in 2013, and it is difficult to see where he fits into Brisbane’s plans next year.
Having three of the NRL’s best fullbacks, who all have experience at five-eighth, has all but ruled out a fairytale Broncos homecoming for code-hopper Karmichael Hunt. But it also another example of Brisbane’s questionable recruitment and retention strategy, which has plagued the club since Wayne Bennett left, crafting a squad that is ridiculously stacked in some areas (backrow, fullback) and pathetically weak in others (front-row, three-quarters).
For now, though, revel in Milford’s exploits in the lime green jumper while you still can:
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