Anthony Seibold says he is open to playing Anthony Milford at fullback long term and hopeful of welcoming back his back-line star in the round 17 home clash with the Warriors.
Captain Darius Boyd will return to fullback for the away meeting with the Sharks on Sunday after he played five-eighth last week against Newcastle, where Milford reverted to fullback before he suffered an MCL injury in the 26-12 loss.
Milford won’t play against the Sharks and the Broncos will field a young side with 11 players having played less than 25 NRL games, including four club debutants in wingers Herbie Farnworth and Xavier Coates and bench forwards Rhys Kennedy and Keenan Palasia.
Boyd has copped plenty of heat for his form this year, which only intensified when he missed a tackle on Knights centre Jesse Ramien last week which led to a try.
Seibold said that criticism was unfair considering Boyd was forced to defend in the centres and play in the halves in attack after winger Richie Kennar injured his shoulder.
Sharks v Broncos - Round 16
Boyd will stay at fullback this week but Seibold suggested he had a long-term plan to give Milford an extended run at the back when he returns from injury.
"He had a cortisone two days ago and we are hoping that he will be back next week. That is best case scenario," Seibold said.
"He has an MCL injury and it just needs to settle from a pain point of view. If it doesn’t settle then he will have to have a minor clean-out which is four to six weeks.
"He will need that operation at some stage. We are trying to hold it off until the end of the year because he is crucial to what we do.
"I want to have a look at Milf in the fullback position before the end of the year so if we can get him back on the park sooner rather than later I will put him back to fullback and let him have an extended run there because I thought he showed some really good glimpses.
"He brought the ball back really strongly and bobbed up around the place and was a real threat. The longer he plays in that position the more stability we get in our team. Milly is best for us in the short term as a fullback and maybe even in the long term once I have a good look at it."
If Milford does play fullback in 2020 and Boyd reverts to five-eighth it won’t come as a surprise to either player
"I have had this conversation with Darius and Milly. I was always thinking about looking at this change next pre-season and trying to get Darius in and around the front line as a number six and putting Milly at fullback," Seibold said.
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“We thought we may as well bite the bullet and make the change for both guys and give them an extended run. After one week you don’t throw things on the scrapheap. I think it is a good thing for our team."
Boyd’s attitude and preparation to play is second to none and Seibold said he was far from the worst player against the Knights.
"Darius prepares really consistently. It hasn't always gone his way during the games but in some ways he is an easy target. He wasn't the worst player on the field, but he missed a bad tackle on Ramien and I suppose that is the tackle everyone is talking about,” Seibold said.
"In some games, he has been very good for us and in other games, he has admitted he hasn't been at his best. With such a young group, he is important for us.
"We sit down and have a one-on-one every single week. He knows where he is at and is continuing to try and improve.”
Seibold denies dumping Boyd rumours as baby Broncos emerge
Seibold said he had never considered dropping Boyd or trying to get him to retire early.
"There has been no thought of dropping Darius. We have got a group that needs some experience. Tomorrow we go down there with 11 guys with less than 25 games, that is less than a season," Seibold said.
"I do believe that six can be his position going forward. Darius had a contract here that Darius has agreed to and the club has agreed to. I don’t see Darius as our problem.”
Despite the Broncos being 14th on the ladder, Seibold was upbeat about the excitement surrounding his four club debutants.
"They bring great energy and enthusiasm to the group. All four guys have incredible stories in a lot of ways," he said.
"Herbie Farnworth, with the journey from England. Keenan Palasia, the journey back from some tough injuries. Rhys Kennedy is a 25-year-old who has had to work and move clubs to get an opportunity and Xavier Coates is straight out of school, so he's a baby.
"Good stories in a lot of ways and a lot of optimism around what they can bring to us, but at the same time they have a job to do as well."