It is the cool, calm and collected legacy of Darren Lockyer that Anthony Milford wants to replicate as the Brisbane five-eighth targets delivering the club a long-awaited seventh premiership.
When the 24-year-old spoke on Wednesday in the lead-up to the Queensland derby clash with the Cowboys on Friday night it was with a determination to emulate the coolness under pressure of the four-time premiership winner and his childhood idol.
"All the boys here talk about how calm he was. Whether he was up by six [points] or down by six he was just calm and talked 'process'," Milford said.
"That's the big thing I have learned and am trying to put in my game at the moment, to be calm in every situation whether it goes bad or good. If I stay in that good mindset I know it will pay off in the end, whether it be in the first 10 minutes or in the 80th."
Milford was Brisbane’s player of the year in 2018 where he showed he was putting into practice what he has learned from Lockyer. Last year in round 16 the Broncos trailed 14-0 in a dire first half, but Milford bounced back to lead the side to a 26-22 win before enjoying a stellar finish to the season.
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Lockyer is a Broncos director and doesn’t live in the players' pockets, but when he does speak Milford listens.
"When I do speak to him it is all the same talk about making sure I do everything I can on the training paddock to ensure my preparation is good and have confidence going into the game," Milford said.
As a chief playmaker, Milford is following in the footsteps of Allan Langer, Wally Lewis, Kevin Walters and Lockyer. The expectations on Milford are huge and he is learning to deal with them.
"I have got better at it now. Being here at a big club, a couple of years ago I would have handled things a lot different to what I do now,” he said.
"I enjoy everything that comes with playing at the Broncos. It is the dream club that I’ve always wanted to play for. I didn’t know the expectations were this big, but that is what comes with playing at a successful club like the Broncos. It is part and parcel."
Part and parcel is also realising his own potential, which is why sessions with Newcastle premiership winner Matthew Johns in the pre-season struck a chord.
"I got a lot out of it. It is more about getting our hands on the footy and making sure we are taking on the line which is a key to what we do," Milford said.
"It is all about staying one step of the game. If a tackle gets made, it is knowing what is going on in the next play … and the next play. That is what he has tried to break down with us which is pretty cool.
"We are trying to do it in our game plans at the moment. It might take a couple of weeks, or it might click this Friday.”
Milford spoke to NRL.com last year about the pain of the 2015 grand final loss to the Cowboys in golden point when the Broncos were on the cusp of a seventh title with seconds to go in regular time.
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That loss still drives him and cuts to the bone each time the Cowboys loom as opponents
"The only way to get rid of the 2015 memory is to win a comp. It keeps replaying in my head. We got so close … but not good enough. That is what makes me want to be better every week.
"It is a big [premiership] drought here at the club. We haven’t won one in a while but we have the team to do it. I just think we need to get the little things right to win more games, and that will set us up."