Milford's actions speak louder than words
He's still the shy kid who shuffled sheepishly into pre-season training at the start of summer but Broncos teammates are more than happy for Anthony Milford to do his talking on the footy field throughout the Finals Series.
As games tighten up over the next month in pursuit of premiership glory a flash of Milford brilliance could be the difference between heartbreak and triumph and it begins on Saturday night when he and Brisbane half Ben Hunt oppose North Queensland pair Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan.
Immediately after he arrived coach Wayne Bennett declared Milford and Hunt were his preferred halves combination and after a quiet start to the year he has grown into his role at five-eighth and developed a wonderful partnership with his more senior half.
Just 21 years of age, Milford has enough confidence to give senior players such as Justin Hodges a hard time around the club's Red Hill training facility but Sam Thaiday says his actions still speak much louder than words.
"I'd met him in an Origin camp once; quiet young fella, didn't say boo. When he came here, exactly the same thing," Thaiday said.
"He doesn't say much at all but he's very different once you get him on the footy field.
"If you can engage him in something that he really loves or loves talking about he'll talk your ear off but apart from that he just kind of keeps to himself.
"As his confidence has built over the year he's got more vocal and it really helps Ben out when he's out there talking."
One of only two Broncos players to have appeared in every game of the regular season (the other being hooker Andrew McCullough), Milford's left-edge combination with Alex Glenn and Jack Reed has become a feature of Brisbane's play.
In addition to scoring 11 tries himself, Milford has contributed significantly to Reed's tally of nine tries and Glenn's four four-pointers in his team-high tally of 14 try assists.
As the only recognised half following the injury to Ashley Taylor last week against the Storm, Milford was heavily targeted by Melbourne's ball-runners and Alex Glenn said it is his role to keep communication up when his young half is under fatigue.
"He does get quiet sometimes out on the field when he's tired," Glenn said. "'Milf' does a lot of work out there so making sure I'm reinforcing him and what his job is and not to give up; making sure that we play the full 80 minutes and keep applying some strong pressure against our opponents.
"Obviously I thought he was a great player, he had that x-factor to him so I was excited to start working with him.
"As the year has progressed he's built a lot of confidence in himself and I have a lot of confidence in him working with him throughout the whole year."
The other exciting, most recent combination developing around Milford is that with fullback Darius Boyd.
Due to his pre-season Achilles injury Boyd had to wait until Round 9 before taking his place in the team and said he has been paying particular attention to when some Milford magic might be in the offing.
"When he's on the ball and following it and calling it, that's when he's on," Boyd said.
"That's when me and Alex Glenn and Jack Reed and the guys that are around him on that side need to follow him and be calling it and be ready because obviously when he gets the ball something's going to happen.
"It just takes time and getting used to each other. Sometimes you don't have to say a lot, you just know when you get used to how someone plays and what his qualities are and you follow that or you help him out so that he can play his best.
"As the games have gone on and we have played more together I think that's really shone."