Anthony Milford’s future at the Broncos is under threat with coach Kevin Walters declaring the Brisbane five-eighth has yet to perform well enough to secure a contract to stay at the club beyond 2021.
In perhaps his boldest comments yet about the off-contract and maligned $1 million marquee man, Walters said Milford had much improvement to make in his game if he was to secure a new deal to stay at Red Hill.
While the rookie coach is backing the 26-year-old former Origin play-maker to up his performance to warrant an extension, Walters is remaining firm that the efforts dished up in the opening month of the NRL season for just one win are not nearly good enough for the Broncos.
“I think that’s a work in progress, right now you’d have to say no,” Walters said when asked bluntly if Milford’s first month was enough to warrant a new deal.
“We need to see Milford playing better but I am extremely confident we can get the best out of Anthony Milford.
“We are four weeks into a 25-round competition plus finals, we are in no hurry (to strike a deal) and Anthony is in no hurry.
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“As long as we can keep building and getting better that is all I am concerned with. It’s just taking the small steps and I feel everything we are doing is based around that.
“There is no long big-picture stuff, it’s all small picture and trying to get better each week. If and when I believe that stops happening then things will change.
“He certainly does (value his position in the team) that is why he is still in the team. I don’t listen to the outside noise, I know what’s happening inside with what we’re trying to achieve.
“Milf has played some good football this year at different stages so we’re backing him. We’re backing all of our players to come up with the right answers at the right times, he is under a lot of pressure as everyone is in the Broncos jersey at the moment.
“I feel that Anthony is buying into everything we’re trying to do and he is certainly in there having a crack and that’s what I like about him. His attitude has been great again this week. He is fully aware of what is going on and what is required of him in the team.”
While Walters’ immediate focus is on South Sydney on Thursday night, it’s impossible to escape how his future team is taking shape with half Tom Dearden and injured centre Kotoni Staggs the subject of fierce bidding wars.
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Staggs has flagged an interest to move into the halves and while Walters offered no guarantee that would happen, he was adamant the club could build its future around existing playing talent and was not interested in chasing veteran Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds for next season.
“We are always in the market, you guys should know that. Every club is always on the lookout if good players become available where they feel we can improve our roster,” Walters said.
“We will be looking but right now we’re trying to re-sign four or five of our junior players.
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“We are really keen to hang on to the services of Kotoni Staggs. He is a player we believe has a really strong future and bright future here at the Broncos.
“Regardless of what position he plays, I’m sure he could play in the back row for us, he could play in the halves and I’m sure he can play centre for us.
“He has that commodity where he could play several positions for us but right now the major focus for us is to retain the services of Kotoni and then we will place him somewhere in those positions over the next 12 months.”
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