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28 May 2017 5:38
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Bronco Milford's priority NRL, not Origin

    Anthony Milford's priority might be helping Brisbane through State of Origin but he still hopes to feature for Queensland as Johnathan Thurston's replacement.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Anthony Milford insists his focus is helping Brisbane through their State of Origin campaign but, if all goes to plan, the Broncos' playmaker won't be available for the NRL club during the difficult period.

    Halfback Ben Hunt is expected to overcome a six-week hamstring injury and combine with Milford in Friday night's home clash with the Wests Tigers after being named on Tuesday as 18th man.

    But it remains to be seen how often their partnership will feature during the Origin campaign, with Milford in the mix to replace recovering Queensland pivot Johnathan Thurston.

    Milford said he was ready to step up and make his Queensland debut if Thurston failed to overcome a shoulder complaint for the May 31 series opener against NSW in Brisbane.

    However, the Samoan international said his priority was helping the Broncos maintain their winning momentum.

    Brisbane are sitting in the top four after five straight wins.

    "I would love to put on the Queensland jersey," Milford said.

    "But I have to play well for the Broncos and let the selectors do their job.

    "We need to nail wins during the Origin period. We were pretty poor at it last year."

    Milford said he had learned to take charge in Hunt's lengthy sideline absence, with replacement No.7 Kodi Nikorima by his side.

    However, Milford welcomed news that Hunt looked set to return.

    Nikorima on Tuesday was named as starting halfback but Hunt was expected to step up if given the green light.

    "I think having Kodi there to steer the ship helped. It helped me be more dominant with the ball," Milford said.

    "I still have to work on game management and picking times when to run the ball and not overplaying my hand but those things will come."

    Milford is still buzzing from having his future finally decided, last week signing a new four-year Broncos deal reportedly worth $1 million a season after months of negotiations.

    Milford reportedly knocked back a more-lucrative Melbourne offer to stay.

    "It was a good headache to have but now it is all sorted," he said.

    "We have a good young squad here and, each year, we can have a crack at the trophy - that is all I wanted.

    "It's a family club and I have family here so that made my decision easier."

    Milford wouldn't bite when asked if he had been tempted to leave.

    "Like I said, I have family here and I just wanted to stay," he said.

    Hunt is set to return two weeks earlier than expected.

    "Kodi has been doing a fantastic job. We've managed to win some games without Ben," Broncos prop Adam Blair said.

    "But it does boost the confidence, knowing your key playmaker is coming back."

    Centre James Roberts (ankle) has been named to return against the Tigers.


    NZN




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