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St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has praised Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford, labelling him the best open-field player in the competition. 

Milford was instrumental in Brisbane's 12-point win over the Dragons, running St George Illawarra's defence ragged with his sublime footwork. 

‌The 23-year-old finished the match with 180 run metres and two line breaks, as well as two try assists and a try of his own. 

Milford is approaching the form of 2015 that helped guide the Broncos to a grand final and he is doing it at the right end of the season, with Brisbane now sitting in second after three wins in a row. 

McGregor watched on helplessly from the Dragons' coach's box as Milford took the match away from his team, and he said after the contest that the performance from Brisbane's five-eighth really hurt his side. 

"With the footy there's probably no better player in the game in broken field than Milford. He was exceptional tonight and hurt us a couple of times," McGregor said. 

What makes Milford's performance even more impressive is the fact he is not 100 per cent fit after dislocating his shoulder early in the season. 

Milford missed five weeks with the injury, delaying surgery so he could return ahead of schedule and play out the year. 

That surgery is now scheduled for after the season, with Milford opting to play in pain and cope with a limited range of movement. 

It is a fact not lost on Broncos coach Wayne Bennett who applauded Milford for his toughness after Brisbane's win over the Dragons. 

"I thought Anthony was very good on Friday night. He's enjoying his footy," Bennett said.  

"He was on death row with his shoulder there but then he realised he could finish the season. He's just appreciating being able to play every week. 

"He's a tough little player. Nobody plays rugby league that's not tough. You don't make it at this level. Some are just tougher than others."

Broncos Captain Darius Boyd knows Milford better than most and he has seen the Queensland Maroons representative grow in confidence as the year has progressed. 

Boyd puts this down to experience, saying Milford has matured as a five-eighth. 

"He's growing in confidence. As you get older you see ball-players come of age," Boyd said.

"It's an experience thing. He's getting pretty experienced in that role now and feeling comfortable in the team. He knows his place and knows what he needs to do. We are now seeing the best of him." 


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