Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford says he will be sad to see halves partner Ben Hunt leave for St George Illawarra at the end of the 2017 NRL season.
2017 will be Hunt's final year under Wayne Bennett, with the 26-year-old signing a five-year contract with the Dragons that will see him play at the Red V until at least the end of the 2022 NRL season.
Hunt has been a huge factor in Milford's development at Red Hill, with the Broncos halfback helping the 22-year-old make the switch from fullback to five-eighth when he first arrived at the club from Canberra in 2015.
It's why Milford will do all he can to send Hunt out a winner come season's end, with an NRL Premiership the ultimate goal.
“It’s pretty sad knowing he will go at the end of the season but it is a big thing for him," Milford said.
“In saying that, I am very am excited for him to do his best at a new club and do his thing down there.
“He helped me a lot when I first came to the Broncos and he has always made me more comfortable on the field.
“We will have to move on, but when it comes to that last game together, it will be a pretty sad moment for us both.”
In what is a look into the future, this weekend's Downer Auckland Nines will give Milford his first taste of life without Hunt.
The Samoan international will take part in the inaugural event for the first time since 2015, but he will do so minus his regular halves partner.
A strong Brisbane squad is set to arrive in Auckland on Thursday to begin preparations for the tournament, but one name will be missing, with the Broncos opting to leave Hunt at home.
This surprise omission is set to put the pressure on Milford, but he has full faith that he and his experienced teammates will handle anything the opposition throws at them.
"We won't have Hunt at the Nines this week so it is up to everyone to take control a bit more on the field," he said.
"I'm sure everyone will put in and do their bit for the team.
"Myself, Darius [Boyd] and Benji [Marshall] will be looking to set an example for the rest of the side.
"It's important in the Nines to throw the ball around, but you also have to enjoy yourself so we will be looking to do that as well."