Canberra fans – take a breath. Take another, just to be sure. We'll keep our bases covered and warn you what you are about to read may trigger severe heartache, anger... even tears. If you are "lucky" enough you may get all of the above and bag the whole trifecta. Clearly this article is about how good Anthony Milford is – and clearly your short-lived romance will be over once the New Year rolls around when Milford returns home to link with the Brisbane Broncos.
Let’s not dwell on that though! Let’s remember those great, happy times. All those occasions Milford did something amazing for the Green Machine, providing a sorely needed spark for a Raiders outfit that has mostly struggled for points in 2014.
There's a reason this kid has been earmarked as a future Origin star and went into camp with the Maroons ahead of Game Two – in 2014 alone, Milford has managed to average 123.5 metres a game, broken 87 tackles (second in the NRL only to Penrith's Josh Mansour), made 14 line breaks (again second best in the comp), laid on 10 tries for his teammates, and scored seven tries of his own.
The Trademark Play: Rock beats Scissors. Paper beats Rock. Scissors beats Paper, but when it comes to the game of rugby league, nothing, absolutely nothing, beats speed and for young Milford he’s got a whole lot of it. Milford could be ambling up towards the defence and then - BAM - within seconds he’s found his way outside a defender and he’s on his way downfield (usually to assist in a fellow player scoring a try or perhaps even score one for himself). The scary thing is Milford is only going to get more dangerous as his game develops, and it's his teammates who will continue to benefit.
In his debut season last year, Milford notched three try assists – in 2014 he has already tripled that output with another third of the year still to play, which showcases just how far his playmaking game has come with just over 18 months in the top grade.
For any Raiders fans, watching the two plays that illustrate best how Milford has taken to his new playmaking duties would've been like hearing your numbers read out in Lotto and having lost the winning ticket. Taking on the Knights in Round 2
, Milford all but single-handedly won the game for his side with his turn of speed and light feet. Milford cut the Newcastle left edge to pieces with jinking, probing runs that set up tries for the Jarrod Croker and Paul Vaughan. While against the Titans a few weeks back
in Round 18 the Samoan international threw out a contender for try-assist of the year with his blink-and-you'll-miss-it tap-on for Croker the centrepiece of a masterful rugby league double-double, as Milford's two tries and two try assists led the Raiders to their first win in seven weeks.