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As part of an series on players aiming for a bounce-back year, Chris Kennedy breaks down the key areas that led to Brisbane's fall from grace last year.

Last season was by any measure a disastrous one at Red Hill, with far more issues than could be laid at the feet of any one player – but the struggles of the club's chief playmaker epitomised 2020 for the Broncos.

How much of Anthony Milford's downturn in form was the result of the struggles elsewhere in the team and club are impossible to pin down but the raw numbers tell a stark tale.

So dramatic was the drop off and so many were the potential contributing factors, the upside for Milford and the club is that a return to top form under the right circumstances shouldn't be out of the question.

It should also be noted Milford battled serious hamstring issues through 2020, missing rounds 13 and 14, making an ill-fated attempted comeback in round 15 then succumbing to the injury for the rest of the year.

His tally of 13 games played is easily the fewest in a season of what has been a remarkably durable career to date otherwise.

But whether it was a lack of support, a lack of an effective platform from his pack, a lack of an effective game plan, a drop in his own confidence or that of the group overall or a combination of all these factors, 2020 was a huge statistical anomaly for the former Maroons half.

Numbers reveal Broncos' woes

Just about every statistical category revealed a huge drop off in 2020.

Milford's run metres were the lowest per game since he joined the club, switching from Raiders fullback in 2014 to Broncos five-eighth in 2015, with 71 per game – 15 below the next lowest of 86 in 2018 and just his second ever season averaging below 100 per match.

The fewest line breaks he'd made in a season at Red Hill was nine until last year, which featured just one in 13 games. Similarly there was just a solitary try, with his next lowest of six coming in the two years prior.

His four try assists were a career low by both total and on a per-game basis of about one every three matches. The next lowest, again in 2018, was 12 – or one every two games.

His 30 busts was below half his second-worst tally of 67 in 2018, and again it was also the lowest on a per-game basis.

Not as eye-catching but perhaps the most dramatic drop-off was in the five-eighth's support play, with total support runs of 87 for the season coming after 297 the season prior and 371 in 2018.

Of course, you could run the numbers on the form of almost any senior Bronco in 2020 and find a worrying drop but no player better encapsulated their fortunes than the enigmatic Milford.

With challenge comes opportunity and at 26 and with 180 games under his belt, Milford should be hitting his peak as a No.6.

You don't forget how to play overnight. A new year under a new coach with a new structure could be just the tonic for the whole playing group.

Hopefully Milford's hamstring injuries are behind him, and a more recent broken hand doesn't delay the start of his 2021 season.

There is every chance Milford enjoys the appointment of Kevin Walters as club coach, with Walters recently telling media Milford was among the captaincy candidates for this season.

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