Milford's Samoa return a long time coming

Milford's Samoa return a long time coming

Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford is just happy to be back donning the blue and white colours of Samoa again after three years in international rugby league wilderness.

Not since 2013 has the Logan-born No.6 put on a Samoan rep jersey with much conjecture over eligibility and selection in Australian and Queensland train-on squads taking a higher priority.

After being denied the chance to take part in the Pacific Test weekend by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett last season, there was no sign of it happening this year with the 22-year-old set to add to his four-game tally when he takes on his club coach and the English side on Saturday night.

"It's been a long wait after a few frustrating times last year but it's good to be back around the boys," Milford told NRL.com.

"We are a tight bunch and away from footy there has been a lot of poker, card games and ping pong going on. (Sharks half) Nu Brown has probably donated his whole allowance this week because he's the worst poker player."

Milford is adamant that despite England's short time together, under the guidance of Bennett they'll come out well prepared for the clash before half of the squad fly home to England on Sunday.

Samoa joined Fiji for an opposed training session on Wednesday before both sides attended a Pacific Test fan day in Sydney's West in the afternoon.

 

‌"It's going to be tough, they're always a strong outfit and ranked third best in the world for a reason and no doubt it will be a forwards game, we need to get on top of them early," he said.

"We looked sharp but Fiji were quite good too, we need to add a few finishing touches at the captain's run in time for game time on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Samoan teammate Sione Mata'utia will make his debut alongside brother Peter in the line-up and after becoming the youngest player to represent Australia in 2014, returning to the international arena is a confidence boost.

"There is so much more behind this than just making a team… the whole nation is behind us," Mata'utia told NRL.com.

"There is family that are proud of you and it goes way back to the islands where there is no TV in the villages but family that appreciates this and are proud of us so it's a lot bigger than myself and the team.

"We made a point earlier in the week that while we are only a dot on the map [of the world], we're really loud in voice and numbers as today has shown."

Both Mata'utia and Milford were blown away with the large contingent of Polynesian support in Sydney's west with all six nations' full squads in attendance, the Samoan side were bombarded with legions of fans on Wednesday.

"It's a great thing… we've seen so many people here and have one of the biggest line-ups of fans wanting signatures so if anything it's really got me fired up, to be honest," Mata'utia said.

"I daresay there are going to be some huge numbers for us at Campbelltown and we're going to need every one of them to take on a side like England. 

"We've gone close [to beating them] in the past but have struggled in a few areas of execution so if we can fix that up then we're in with a huge chance, definitely."