Anthony Milford’s Broncos career has hit rock bottom, with half of $ 1 million per season sent back to train on a reserve note with his ax for the club’s sixth round match with the Panthers almost inevitable.
After a brilliant start to the season that earned him a Dally M vote in Brisbane’s first-round loss to the Eels, Milford’s form frustrated coach Kevin Walters, admit last week that he hadn’t done enough this season to win a new deal.
Milford’s lucrative contract with the Broncos expires at the end of this season, and Walters’ decision to dump him of the first year almost guarantees he’ll be at a different club next season.
The 26-year-old five-eighth may not be the only victim Brisbane’s 35-6 loss to the Rabbitohs last Thursday, with the young center Tesi Niu also sent back to the reserve class for today’s training session.
Niu looks set to be replaced by Jesse Arthars, while Milford risks losing his place in the squad to Brodie Croft, who started the season as the Broncos’ first-choice No.7 but left the team. up to Tom Dearden a fortnight ago.
Thursday night’s clash with the Panthers will complete the full cycle of starting half combinations for the Broncos, with Walters unable to settle for one of his three halves recognized so far this season.
This is a huge problem for the club and has been exacerbated by recent speculation that Dearden is considering moving away from the Broncos after being unable to get a consistent shot as the club’s first-choice No.7 despite his impression. in flash on his first two. seasons.
Dearden was reportedly probed last week by a third party trying to negotiate an immediate club change that would send him north to the Cowboys., where the retirement of Michael Morgan and the impending transfer of Jake Clifford to the Knights paved the way for the signing of a new half-back.
Yet long-term planning in halves for the Broncos is still nothing short of a mess.
There have been recent reports that Kotoni Staggs is seen as the club’s future five-eighth but it’s a move that has talented judges of the same nature as Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler scratching their heads.
When this was presented to them on last week’s episode of Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the eighth, both wondered why you would move a player who has the potential to be the NRL’s first center.
From outside the club, Adam Reynolds has stepped firmly into the frame, with the Rabbitoh unwilling to present an offer that meets his minimum requirements of a two-year contract beyond his current one, which ends at the end of this season.
Reynolds is one of the best running backs in the competition and according to a News Corp report, Broncos president Karl Morris has endorsed the club’s plan to pursue him as a cornerstone in transforming their fortunes.
If Reynolds signs with the Broncos, that would absorb much of the ceiling space currently occupied by Milford, but could also trigger Dearden and Croft’s decision to look elsewhere.
While these moving elements will start to take shape in the coming weeks, there are still 20 weeks of this season to play and Walters must find answers to his squad’s current poor form as soon as possible.
Taking a tough stance with Milford might be his line in the sand moment with his players, but there is also a risk that he will burn the squad by being inconsistent with his message.
Walters escaped criticism ahead of the Broncos’ recent clash with the Storm by indulging in mind games with his halves, having selected Brodie Croft to face his former team when the teams were announced Tuesday to drop him on the bench into a late rework.
Likewise, he played with Milford, making the direct statement last week that it was not worth a new deal at the Broncos, then claiming the five-eighth performance against the Rabbitohs was his best of the season.
The comment troubled Brisbane-based reporters today as they traveled to Red Hill to watch the Broncos train and were greeted by the sight of Milford running with reservations.
It all adds up to a mixture of confusion and despair. What time then, to prepare to welcome the competition’s undefeated favorites in a game that has all the signs of a bloodbath.
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