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Milford on the move: Rabbitohs sign out-of-favour Bronco

South Sydney have sealed a one-year deal for Anthony Milford to resurrect his NRL career at the club in 2022.

The 27-year-old five-eighth has been on the outer at the Broncos this season and was told his services would not be required next year with Rabbitohs playmaker Adam Reynolds heading to Brisbane on a lucrative three-year deal.

Milford has played 189 NRL games during his nine-year career 
with the Raiders and Broncos, including the 2015 grand final loss, as well as seven Tests for Samoa and two State of Origins for Queensland. 

Rabbitohs head of football Mark Ellison was confident Milford could regain his best form next year.

"He comes to us highly recommended by Wayne [Bennett] and JD [incoming 2022 coach Jason Demetriou], who both worked with him at the Broncos where he played a leading role in taking them to the 2015 grand final," he said in a club statement.

"At his best he is one of the most electrifying players in the game and we’re certain he will put his best foot forward with our club next season."

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Bennett, who had Milford firing for the most part during his time coaching at Brisbane, won't be at South Sydney next season but believes it's a great fit for the enigmatic playmaker.

Broncos football director Ben Ikin said Milford's move was necessary for the club and player.

"Our club is making decisions for the long-term good of the playing roster and we have seen some players depart as part of that process, while a large number of players have also signed, re-signed and extended with the Broncos," he said in a club statement.

Elsewhere, Bennett confirmed 18-year-old, 112kg prop Davvy Moale would make his debut off the bench for his debut against the Dragons on Saturday afternoon after Liam Knight (head knock) was ruled out.

Moale has been compared to agile Broncos powerhouse Payne Haas, who also broke into the NRL as a teenager, but Bennett doesn't agree. "I don't see any similarities," he said.

"I'm like the rest of you, I've got to wait and see what he brings as well. It's alright to talk about it but we'll see what actually happens."

With NSW state competitions on hiatus since mid-June due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Moale's last game - in under 21s Jersey Flegg Cup - came almost seven weeks ago.

But a growing injury toll left Bennett with few other options.

Given state competitions were cancelled for much of 2020, Bennett is concerned about the detrimental impact on emerging talent.

"It's a real issue for the game and we have to do better than we're doing with it," the seven-time premiership winner said.

"We've got two years of no development for these young players. I mean, they reach the standard they reach because of the pathways and the development program that we have.

"[Missing] two years in the prime years of your learning is not good for anybody. If it goes into the third year, it'll be bordering on the ridiculous.

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"They come into first grade well underdone as well, which is not good for them. They’ve played very little football, but we have to use them because we have injuries or whatever dictates that at the moment.

"I don't think we can allow it to go for another 12 months, I think we've got to come to some position on it that's a lot better than what it is right now.

"[The NRL has] got a lot of things on their hands right now and it's been rather challenging, so it's easy to put it to the side.

"And I'm not blaming them and I'm not criticising them, I'm just telling you what's really happening on the ground.

"I think in the pre-season next year, we've got to come up with some rules with regards to how these players can get to play football. These are young men in the prime of their career, and wanting to start a career, and we can't get them a game to play in."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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