Former Brisbane captain Kevin Walters says Anthony Milford can deliver the NRL premiership to the Broncos and end the club’s longest title drought. Walters backed five-eighth Milford to not only inspire Brisbane in Sunday’s elimination final against St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium but also help them secure their first title since 2006.
Ex-Brisbane pivot Walters knows what it takes to win a trophy — he claimed six premierships in his playing career, including five at his beloved Broncos. And Walters liked what he saw from 24-year-old Milford.
Asked whether Milford could deliver a premiership, Walters said: “I think he can. There’s no problems there. I see no reason why the Broncos can’t win something under Anthony.”
Milford had largely copped flak this year, critics saying the playmaker had not been living up to his price tag since signing a lucrative $4-million, four-season deal.
However, Walters said Milford had turned it around to help guide Brisbane to a home final with three straight wins.
“For the second half of the season, he has been one of their best players,” Walters said.
The Queensland coach has also backed another maligned player, Dragons halfback Ben Hunt, to put in a career-best performance against the Broncos.
An out-of-sorts Hunt has been the scapegoat of the Dragons’ late season fade-out, copping so much social media hate that his wife, Bridget, last month publicly hit out at the “despicable bullying”.
And there will be no let-up on Sunday, with Brisbane captain Darius Boyd admitting they will target their ex-Broncos teammate despite also hitting out at the “terrible” abuse Hunt had copped.
Walters saw first-hand how Hunt handled criticism after the Dragons playmaker was pilloried during Queensland’s 2-1 series loss to NSW this year.
“Knowing Ben and his character, he will come here on Sunday looking for the best performance of his career,” Walters said.
“And he will need to do that if the Dragons are to win. But I think he was unfairly criticised.
“We lost the second Origin game and all of a sudden Ben Hunt couldn’t play (according to critics), which I thought was ridiculous — you don’t lose your ability overnight.”