Anthony Milford has expressed his admiration for the play of James Tedesco and Broncos legend Steve Renouf insists he can follow in the footsteps of the Roosters custodian if he backs his natural instincts at fullback.
Milford has twice run for more than 200 metres in the past six weeks in the No.1 jersey after switching from five-eighth and has been a key figure in Brisbane securing nine competition points in those games.
Milford looked up to Billy Slater and Karmichael Hunt when he was coming through the junior grades and has noted the strengths of Tedesco’s game where the Roosters fullback is constantly around the ball and looking for any opportunity to inject himself and showcase his dazzling running game.
"He is always there and putting himself in positions where he gets the ball and breaks a few tackles and scores a few tries," Milford said.
"I am enjoying my time there [at fullback] and I just need to get better and keep improving every week. I started there at the Raiders and got my first fullback job down there and took it with two hands. I am living my dream."
Broncos v Rabbitohs - Round 23
Renouf said the key to Milford’s continued improvement was playing with an uncluttered mind.
"He has got the potential to be the Broncos’ Tedesco. When Milford is on fire he is second-to-none," Renouf told NRL.com.
"Milford is suited to fullback and just needs to back his instincts. He will do that when he is relaxed. Wayne Bennett would say to me ‘you think too much, just play’. It is the same for Milford. Just get that ball and see where it takes you.
"When Milford plays his natural game he is just the same as Teddy. I watched him come through the juniors in the 16s and 18s at Logan, when my son was playing for Norths, and he was outstanding with his speed and feet and no-one could get near him."
The Broncos scored a slick try last week against Penrith when Milford injected himself down the right side to put Jamayne Isaako away.
It is an area of Brisbane’s game that still needs refining but Milford said it was "pleasing to see set plays work and combinations clicking at the right end of the year".
Milford will continue to work with five-eighth Darius Boyd on the left side of the park but now has a new halfback in Sean O’Sullivan to scheme alongside with Jake Turpin missing the next two games through suspension. He said it would be a seamless transition to work in with the former Rooster.
Unveiling the NRL Team of the Decade
"He will slot right in and he knows all the calls. It will be a comfortable position for him," Milford said.
Milford has had plenty on his plate at the back in recent weeks and is called on to do a lot more kicking in general play than most fullbacks. It is an area where Renouf said O’Sullivan, a natural half, could be a great asset to unlocking Milford’s best.
"Milford has a lot of responsibility in this team with his kicking as well. He is a senior player but he does need someone to take the pressure off him," Renouf said.
"Sean O’Sullivan can come in and do a lot of the kicking against Souths and that should set Milf up to do more running of the football, which is when he is at his best."