Danger in harnessing Milford magic
When coaches talk of their favourite players a regular characteristic they praise is someone whose worst game is never too far from their best.
They talk of "knowing what they will get" from them on a weekly basis, but Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford doesn't fall into that category.
Genius rarely does.
Teammates don't know from one week to the next which Milford will show up, but when the tackle-busting, fleet-footed magician pulls out all the tricks they can do little but join the 40,000-plus in the stands of Suncorp Stadium as mere spectators to his brilliance.
As the Broncos have emerged from a mid-season slumber so too has Milford, his two latest performances against the Eels and Bulldogs reminiscent of the player who had the NRL in raptures over the opening two months of the season.
He will be a critical player in breaking down the Storm's premiership best defence on Friday night but ask around and no one can explain where the magic has come from nor how long it will stay.
"He's just freakish, I don't know what's gotten into him," said Broncos winger Jordan Kahu.
"He's been training really well and his energy around the place is up there so I think that's played a lot on his games."
Milford himself speaks to the "little things" such as pushing up with the forwards as they charge head-long into the opposition defence or simply "taking a carry", but it appears almost wasteful for such mundane tasks to be the domain of the truly gifted.
Benji Marshall has suffered from the expectation of brilliance throughout the latter part of his career so the choice the Broncos and Milford now face is whether to sacrifice consistency for the promise of rare perfection or mould him into a player who is simply very good week after week.
As skipper for the Broncos last season, Justin Hodges wondered from one week to the next as to which Milford would run out behind him and says to be among the game's elite he has to find that level of consistent excellence.
"Having the privilege of playing with him last year, some games you didn't know whether he was going to turn up or not but when he did it was great to sit back and watch and enjoy the type of player that he is," Hodges said.
"That's the thing that 'Milf' has to fix in his game. If he wants to be one of the best players in the game he has to bring that consistency each week. At the moment we're not getting that but we're seeing glimpses of it every few weeks.
"When he's on he's electric. We all know what he can do but he just needs to find that balance and bringing that consistency every week."
Milford is ranked in the top 10 for both line-break assists and try assists and his 77 tackle busts put him 15th in the NRL for season 2016.
He has scored 12 tries for the season but scored just one in 10 games through the middle of the year as his malaise transferred across the entire team.
His confidence never wavered because he knew he had the belief of his teammates and the Brisbane coaching staff. They knew the magic would be back but like any good magician dared not ask how he performed his tricks.
In his breakout season for the Broncos last year Milford had the regular security of Jack Reed at left centre, something he hasn't been afforded this year with the England international sidelined since Round 13 with a shoulder injury.
Milford has had fellow 21-year-old Tom Opacic on his outside for the past five weeks now and believes the stability in the team has played a big part in his resurgence.
"It helps when we can field a full squad each week," said Milford.
"This is the third week coming where we've been able to field the same squad from previous weeks so the combinations there are building and building nicely into the back-end of the year.
"I'm performing better than what I was and taking the ball on more and having more runs. Having Sammy [Thaiday] there outside me gives me that confidence as well where I can give him the ball or just take numbers off me."
Turn up or tune in because you might just see something that will leave you speechless.