FIRST it was his work ethic — now Anthony Milford’s head space is a talking point after Jordan Kahu’s field goal sealed Brisbane’s 13-12 NRL win over Canberra on Friday.
Milford appeared distracted in a muted display at Suncorp Stadium in the wake of Fox Sports TV’s explosive claim that Brisbane teammate Benji Marshall believed the pivot took short cuts at training.
It was still a surprise when Milford took a back seat in the dying minutes to let unheralded winger Kahu seal the 30m matchwinning field goal, albeit after it clipped the right post.
It was in stark contrast to Milford 12 months ago when he was Brisbane’s round four hero, breaking North Queensland hearts with a late field goal of his own. But 200-game hooker Andrew McCullough backed Milford to regain his confidence after a challenging week.
“Milf has a bit on his plate at the moment and Jordy can kick them pretty well — I am glad he put it over,” said McCullough, who notched 61 tackles and a second half try.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was forced to confront Marshall at training on Thursday after Fox Sports TV claimed the veteran believed Milford was a lazy trainer.
Marshall denied he said it and Bennett believed him before launching a scathing attack on the media.
Asked how Milford had handled the controversy, McCullough said: “It’s a professional sport.
“He’s a big enough boy to block the external stuff out.
“I don’t think that other stuff bothers him.
“Wayne is on his back at training but no one else is.”
Remarkably Kahu’s match winner was his first field goal in his 59-game NRL career and he said Bennett’s wants him to be the Broncos’ go-to man.
“Wayne saw my hard work at training and told the team he wants me to kick them and I am happy to do so,” Kahu said.
“I am happy to take some pressure off Milfy and (halfback) Ben Hunt. “Those two carry a team for a whole 80 minutes.
“I am not doing anything on the wing so it is good to help out somehow.”