How Langer is unlocking Milford's best for Broncos' finals tilt
Anthony Milford has credited Allan Langer with unlocking the best in his game as the Broncos five-eighth targets bringing down Cronulla to bolster Brisbane's hopes of a top-four finish.
Milford told NRL.com the Brisbane legend's legacy as "the smallest player with the biggest heart" had struck a chord with him as he outlined how Langer had helped him relax during games and play with flair and instinct during them.
The 24-year-old's kicking game, both long and short, has improved this year and it was a highlight of his performance against Penrith. The Broncos will leapfrog the fifth-placed Sharks if they win at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
Langer comes down to Broncos training for the final session of the week where his advice has proven beneficial to Milford and his halves partner Kodi Nikorima.
On game day in his role as a trainer, Langer is permitted to pass on messages to players and Milford said those words of wisdom were always on the money.
"Alfie is big for me. On game day he is scanning and watching what we are doing," he told NRL.com.
"He is always on the front foot with me telling me to get the ball in my hands, get the boys going and do something to lift the boys.
"Words along those lines keep me going and he makes sure you are always talking and helping the boys out."
Langer, who helps the halves with their kicking along with assistant coach Kurt Richards, was a master of the short kick and Milford has executed several gems of his own in recent weeks.
He set up Alex Glenn for a try in the comeback win over Canberra with a well-placed grubber.
Early in the first half of the 50-18 win over the Panthers, he noted Penrith fullback Jarome Luai was positioned deep. A short Milford kick into space was booted ahead by Nikorima and a flying James Roberts did the rest.
"We were getting bashed there at the start and Alfie's whole idea of 'instinct football' just took over," Milford explained.
"I threw it up with Kodi, and we called a play. He was happy for me to back it, and we got the four points from it. That is one we will keep in our bag.
"Alfie is encouraging us to do that and always to play footy, and not to let the game go along without doing something.
"I have seen Origin highlights of Alfie and Benny (Wayne Bennett) has some good stories on him. He was the smallest player with the biggest heart and if I can pinch anything out of his game it would be that."
Milford welcomes Langer's light-hearted jibes in the dressing room before he runs on the field. Instead of feeling tense, he is relaxed and ready to play his natural game.
"He always brings good vibes and good morale. He can get away with anything Alfie and is very important for me and Kodi," Milford grinned.
"He is a clown, and just before we get ready to play he is always making me laugh and doing something silly.
"I am not a serious person. If I am too serious that means something is going on, so he will come in and have a joke and tell me a riddle. I like it."
Milford said the Broncos backline reshuffle against the Panthers worked a treat with Jamayne Isaako at the back and the talkative Darius Boyd in the centres on his left side.
"[Boyd] didn't shut up once, which was good," Milford said.
"We had a defensive mindset against the Panthers and knew their dangermen were their back-rowers and he kept trying to talk to me and told me who he was marking.
"He did everything you could ask of a centre. [Isaako] adds another dimension to the back and the more games he gets under his belt the better he will get."