Milford's World Cup aspirations in doubt

Milford's World Cup aspirations in doubt

Anthony Milford requires season-ending surgery but whether it happens before or after the Rugby League World Cup will be up to Wayne Bennett and the Brisbane Broncos.

Milford admitted he will remain restricted in some shoulder movement for the rest of the season but was adamant he felt no pain during the Broncos' 12-point win over Newcastle at the weekend.

It proved a solid return for the 23-year-old who got over the line early for the side's fourth try and didn't miss a tackle after being sidelined for the past six weeks with a shoulder complaint. 

"I've got to get it fixed up and it's not something I'm looking forward to but it's rugby league and these things happen," Milford said after the win. 

"Six weeks (the initial prognosis for the injury) was the Bulldogs game (in Round 20) so I was ahead of schedule and our strength and conditioning is what got me through."

 


Milford was unsure how long he would be sidelined after surgery but insisted he was not concerned with rival clubs being aware he was not at 100 per cent for the rest of the season.

"I have no idea, it's another guessing game and hopefully all the rehab brings it back stronger," he said. 

"Getting the big boys running at me earlier in the week gave me confidence and every team knows who's injured so that's not something I am nervous of."

Milford got through nine tackles against the Knights and felt no issues after some pre-game help from the conditioning staff. 

While he admitted there would be some restriction on his shoulder for the remainder of the season, he was confident of guiding the Broncos deep into the finals series. 

"I pulled up sweet, there were no concerns. I didn't feel it once," he said.

"[The strapping] does restrict me. The physios put it in a position where I can't extend my arm enough to make it hurt, so the arm is strapped up pretty tight. 

"I'm on to Andrew McCullough and Benny Hunt to give me good passes.

"Anything over the top of my head I can't catch."

Milford got a taste of Origin football for the Maroons in Game One in May but may face a tough ask to regain the No.6 jersey in the coming years after a dominant performance from Cameron Munster in the Origin decider. 

"I've had the best of both worlds lately. It's something that I will always cherish and have in the back of my head that I've accomplished," Milford said.

"The pace of the game was incredibly fast but the professionalism and game management learning from Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and having Johnno (Johnathan Thurston) in camp was massive for me and I just picked things out of their brain."

He remained hopeful of featuring in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and after representing Samoa in the Pacific Test back in May is keen to return to the side should he be fit to play and not selected in the Australian squad.

The final decision will be out of Milford's hands.

"I want to play in the World Cup," Milford said.

"Whether I can or not is up to the club, it's what is in the best interests of the team.

"Hopefully if the shoulder pulls up good after our last game I can be available for selection."