Walters’ rev-up for recalled $1 million bust

Broncos coach Kevin Walters has given Anthony Milford a clear directive after being forced to recall him due to Tyson Gamble’s one-week ban for a crusher tackle.

Speaking to 4BC’s Wide World of Sports Radio last night, Walters all but confirmed Milford would be back in the side to face the Storm on Thursday night, adding that he’d told him exactly what he wants to see from him in first grade after twice axing the $1 million-a-season player this season.

Milford is set to pair Albert Kelly in what will be Brisbane’s sixth halves combination of the season, with Walters adopting a rotating door policy in the hunt for a winning formula.

Milford has previously partnered Brodie Croft, Tom Dearden and Gamble, with his most recent axing coming after a Magic Round trouncing to the resurgent Sea Eagles.

Due to his talent level and his price tag, Milford has been the focus of plenty of personal criticism again this season, with Andrew Johns recently asking if he still had the desire to play at NRL level.

He will get yet another chance to answer that question against one of the competition’s benchmark teams in Round 12 and Walters revealed he’s made his expectations clear.

“We pulled him out of the (Queensland Cup) game on the weekend for Souths (Logan Magpies) just precautionary in case Tyson (Gamble) did get suspended,” Walters said.

“He’d be the likely one that will come in and we just want Milf, and I said to him today at training, we had a light run today, I said to him ‘we just want you to be Anthony Milford. Run the ball and make your tackles’, and you know, he’s got quite a good long and short kicking game as well when he’s playing at his best.

“So, behind this forward pack, and they would have got a lot of confidence out of what they did on the weekend (in the Broncos’ win over the Roosters) I’d expect them to lay a good platform for Anthony to work off, so I’m pretty excited for him.”

Walters added that he’d finally seen signs that his side could take advantage of the second phase play that his forward pack was consistently creating by being one of the NRL’s most prolific offloading teams.

The Broncos played a high energy, up tempo style in attack against the Roosters, with Kelly providing what Walters described as a “backyard style” of football, to complement the toughness and enthusiasm of Gamble.

If anything, adding Milford’s instinctive style to the halves mix could be a turbo boost to the Broncos’ attack and Walters said he was encouraging his side to make more of the forward pack’s enterprising play.

“If you get an offload, if I’m a halfback for instance and I’m following Payne Haas, well if I get the ball I want to shift it to the outside men who’ve got a bit of speed, got a bit of foot work and that’s the plan with it all.

“I guess if you’re running hard like the boys were on Saturday night, good things come out of it like little offloads and quick play the balls that can catch the opposition defence out a little bit.

“That was the plan, it worked beautifully against the Roosters and we’re confident we can back it up against the Storm with another really strong performance.”

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