Rivals to circle on Milford’s contract clause
Anthony Milford will not walk out on the Broncos to join Wests Tigers as Brisbane's $1 million man prepares for a return to the crucial five-eighth position in a bid to save his career at Red Hill.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Milford has a clause in his $4 million deal that gives him until next May to advise the Broncos whether he will activate a 12-month extension - effectively making him a free agent for 2021.
The structure of Milford's contract means the highest-paid player in Broncos history has been able to field rival offers since November 1, shortly after he received some home truths in a one-on-one review with coach Anthony Seibold.
Milford was one of several senior players urged to lift by Seibold following last season's finals capitulation against Parramatta, triggering speculation the Tigers are circling the 25-year-old with the lure of a fresh start at fullback.
But Milford has returned to Brisbane's pre-season looking noticeably fitter than in recent years, evidence the attacking sensation is motivated to prove he has the skill set and drive to deliver the Broncos' first title since 2006.
The Tigers, bolstered by a $1.7 million war chest, are one NRL rival with the funds to make a legitimate play for Milford, but his agent insists the Queensland Origin ace does not want out of the Broncos.
"Any suggestion Anthony is going to the Wests Tigers is not true," leading manager Sam Ayoub said.
"I have not had a discussion with the Tigers or any other club about Anthony Milford at this point in time.
"I've spoken with 'Milf' and there has been no indication that he is looking elsewhere.
"He didn't have his best year last season but I know how determined Anthony is to have a big season in 2020. He has been training well.
"The reality is Anthony actually has an option in his contract with the Broncos that is in his favour.
"Technically, Anthony is a free agent so he could explore other offers, but it's premature to be talking about any contracts beyond next season.
"His focus is on playing well and when the time comes we will sit down and look at where Anthony is placed."
After four years as Brisbane's first-choice pivot, Milford's tenure in the No.6 jumper appeared over last June when he was moved to fullback by Seibold as part of a mid-season switch with skipper Darius Boyd.
Milford played 11 games at fullback, scoring three tries, and Seibold intimated the switch was a precursor to the Samoan finishing his career in the No.1 jumper.
But with Boyd fighting for his NRL career, Milford is back in the frame as the favourite to reclaim the five-eighth spot and operate as the senior partner to new halfback recruit Brodie Croft.
Winger Jamayne Isaako has trained at fullback in recent days.
Broncos five-eighth legend Darren Lockyer believes Milford has yet to fulfil his potential at second receiver.
"Milf knows he has to lift next season and by all accounts he is looking to get himself in the best shape possible," Lockyer said.
"Anthony was arguably the best player on the field in the 2015 grand final playing at five-eighth, so he has shown he can dominate in that position.
"Positions are up for grabs at the moment and by the end of the trials we will know where Milf fits in."