Broncos coach Kevin Walters says there is still hope for Anthony Milford to earn a new deal in Brisbane despite the club securing Kotoni Staggs with a view to making him their long-term five-eighth.
Milford is fighting to secure an extension at Red Hill but after returning from the Intrust Super Cup last week to help Brisbane to a win over the Titans, Walters wants to see his halves repeat the effort in Saturday’s clash with North Queensland before he even considers new contracts.
The 26-year-old former Queensland playmaker revealed this week to NRL.com that he would be willing to move clubs if the Broncos baulked at a new deal, not that Walters is willing to blink just yet in the contract stand-off.
"We just want Milf to play good. We want him to be the player that he can be. He showed some good form last week, if he can continue to reproduce that he gives himself every opportunity," Walters said.
"The ball is in Anthony’s court on where his future is. Certainly that will be a decision Anthony makes."
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Walters said the club had not guaranteed Staggs the No.6 jersey, but he would get a chance to play five-eighth in the future with his return from knee surgery suffering a setback until at least round 14 after a slight hamstring strain in rehab a few weeks ago.
The Broncos remain on the hunt for an experienced halfback but Walters refused to even discuss their pursuit of South Sydney half Adam Reynolds who is reportedly due to tour the club’s training base in the coming days.
"I feel it would be disrespectful to speak about that right now," Walters said of recruitment targets.
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"Not only to the players that we’re communicating with but also those here in our club at the moment.
"My focus and energy is all going into tomorrow night’s game."
The Broncos have not won back-to-back games since prior to last year’s COVID shutdown, but this trip to Townsville offers them a golden chance to break that drought as the Cowboys have battled their own inconsistency in 2021.
Walters will field an unchanged side from last week’s comeback win over the Titans, although he conceded gun rookie Brendan Piakura is edging closer to his NRL debut and would be included as 18th man for the Cowboys game.
"He is very close, obviously he is coming back from a shoulder injury. He just needs to play some footy and he is a good young prospect for us and we want to give him a taste of the NRL when we can," Walters said.
"We will stick to the same 17 that got the job done last week.
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"It’s all about our performance and getting better each week. I know if we’re doing that the results will come.
"It’s about sticking to our plans and focus about the week and the game and getting that right, everything else will look after itself if we get that right.
"I want to see the best from this Broncos team and I want to see that tomorrow night."