Milford ready to unleash Jack Bird
The 'Milford and Bird Show' is about to have a second showing and rehearsals are underway for what the Brisbane Broncos hope will be a blockbuster double act.
At Brisbane Broncos training on Monday, five-eighth Anthony Milford and left centre Jack Bird spent time in a specialised mini-session together as they worked on their combination with assistant coach Kevin Walters ahead of Sunday night's Telstra Premiership clash with the Gold Coast Titans.
The Broncos are banking on the pair becoming a devastating left-side attacking force with Bird's involvement, support play and competitive nature viewed as the perfect complement to Milford's running game and off-the-cuff style.
Milford and Bird both spent significant slabs of the pre-season in rehab or in training away from the main group and have played just once together. That was last Friday night’s 9-7 win over the Wests Tigers.
Milford spoke to NRL.com after being in deep conversation with Bird on the training paddock where the duo fine-tuned the timing of several attacking manoeuvres.
"I've spoken to Jack about letting me know what he wants, when he wants it and what his strengths are," Milford said.
"I've been picking his brain so that we can build a good partnership together, and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.
"He's a quality player. He's won a premiership and played Origin. He's a high-class athlete and a big competitor, so I’m looking forward to him getting back to his best and building a combination with him."
"I thought he did a really good job on Friday night and we need him to do the same against Konnie [Titans centre Konrad Hurrell]."
Bird has been a right side player for most of his career but is resigned to the fact that James Roberts has the right centre position nailed down at the Broncos.
"I did put my hand up to play left centre even though I haven't played on the left before, and I am happy to play there because Jimmy plays on the right," Bird told NRL.com.
"I felt comfortable against the Tigers and as time goes on, hopefully, I will feel even comfortable on that left side.
"Me and Milly have put in a lot of extra work practising our combinations and we still have some things to work on, but we will only get better."
NRL.com columnist and Broncos legend Steve Renouf carved out a stellar career as a centre for the club and said there were key reasons why the Milford/Bird partnership could be a winner.
Renouf has advocated for Roberts to play outside Milford but conceded that was unlikely to happen.
"I'm a fan of Bird and you aren’t going to lose anything with him outside Milford because he is a super support player," Renouf said.
"When that is part of your makeup and you are outside a bloke like Milford, then you'd like to think there would be a few points in it and a few 'meat pies'.
"I'm glad to see they are working hard on their combination. Kevvie [Walters] and I fine-tuned our combo prior to the line and a few extra little plays but many times Kevvie, and Milford does it well too, would make a break and you’ve got to get your arse there in support.
"You've got to have that vision and Bird is a genuine footballer who can see things unfold on the field and knows how to sniff out a try."