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Depth of Milford's courageous end to 2018 explained

Anthony Milford played a semi-final with a dislocated shoulder last season but another act of toughness by the star five-eighth in 2018 showcased his ability to play through pain.

"Milly showed his resilience when he played the semi-final against the Dragons with a dislocated shoulder but what people don't know is that he tore his pec about eight weeks before that and was supposed to have a month off, but he battled on and played through it," Broncos assistant coach Jason Demetriou told NRL.com.

"That was kept very quiet. The physio picked up on it and wanted him to have a scan but Milly’s first thought was ‘no I’m not scanning it’ because he wanted to keep playing.

"I was teasing him about it at training because he kept saying 'my pec is sore' and then the physio said that a normal player would miss a month. Milly was confident he could play with it and train with it and showed he is a guy who can play through pain, when not everyone can."

While not at the severe end of the spectrum for pectoral tears, Demetriou said that example was a sign of how far Milford had come as a player at the age of 24 after proving his durability since making his debut as a teenager for Canberra.

"Learning to play well with injury and through pain is an art  that older players get used to and Milly has played 143 NRL games now and has learned to push through things," Demetriou said.

"There are not many people from within the club who don’t know how tough Milly is but he is a lot tougher than people outside the club give him credit for.

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"In 2017 he did his shoulder and finished the season with it hanging off when it could have gone at any time.

"The good thing is that he’s had his shoulder fixed again now and it should hold up for him for a few years."

Milford is back running at training after surgery on the left shoulder he dislocated against Manly in round 25. He played on in that game to have a key role in Brisbane's win and then backed up the following week against the Dragons.

He stormed home with seven man-of-the-match performances in his final 10 round games to win the Paul Morgan Medal for Brisbane's player of the year with his kicking and running games on song.

"I was really impressed with the way he finished the season and I think that showed how he understands how to get the best out of himself in a game of footy now," Demetriou said.

"Milly stood up and took a lot of control with his game management when we needed him to and that is going to give him a lot of confidence going forward. He comes into this pre-season knowing what works for him and what doesn’t so at the start of next year you will really see the best of him.

"He is in good shape and in a good head space."

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Halves partner Kodi Nikorima also finished the year on a high and Demetriou insists the best of the two halves in tandem is yet to come.

"I thought Kodi's form in the last game for New Zealand in the Test series against England showed how he matured in 2018," Demetriou said.

"Together with Milly those two are set for a good pre-season and will start next year more dangerous than ever."