Walters: Milford can win it for Brisbane
BRISBANE legend Kevin Walters has declared his former protege, $1 million man Anthony Milford, can emulate Darren Lockyer by steering the Broncos to a fairytale premiership.
Walters was the Broncos' assistant coach who took Milford and Ben Hunt under his wing when the scrumbase duo combined to catapult Brisbane to the NRL grand final against the Cowboys three years ago.
Now Milford and Hunt are playmaking adversaries on a sudden-death collision course as they prepare for Sunday's finals blockbuster between the Broncos and Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
It is no surprise Milford's outstanding 2015 campaign coincided with the hiring of Walters, the former Broncos pivot who imparted his five-time premiership-winning wisdom on the then 21-year-old five-eighth.
Milford has copped brickbats this season for his patchy form, but he is firing at the right time - prompting Walters to back him as the first five-eighth since Lockyer in 2006 to deliver a Broncos title.
"I think Anthony can do it, there's no problems there," said Walters, who quit as Brisbane's assistant in April to focus on his Queensland Origin coaching duties.
"He is a confident young fella, his defence has gotten better, so I have no reason to think why the Broncos can't win (a premiership) under Anthony.
"He is a couple of years older and you'd like to think he will continue to improve.
"We haven't seen the best of Anthony, there is more consistency in his game this season and he is getting better every week.
"He is going to be one of those exciting players through the finals that everyone wants to see and wants to watch."
Underlining his development this season, Milford has turned a one-time weakness - his kicking game - into his strength.
Three years of hard work has resulted in the 24-year-old becoming, statistically, the best general-play kicker in the NRL with a league-high 8461 metres, almost 1000m more than third-placed Hunt (7669m).
Walters said it was impossible to place Milford in the same stratosphere as Broncos halfback legend Allan Langer, but insists he has title-winning X-factor.
"Anthony is a different type of player to 'Alf' (Langer), but in the key moments he can deliver," Walters said.
"We realise the ability Anthony has and he has been showing it for the second half of the season.
"His kicking game has gone to a new level and he has taken ownership of that. That kicking game has helped the rest of his game.
"Anthony is one of those players who can do something on the footy field that not many players can and that's a real bonus for the Broncos.
"Sometimes it comes down to an individual effort of brilliance in the finals and Anthony and (Kodi) Nikorima (halves partner) have that in spades."
Get 3 months free Sport HD + Entertainment on a 12 month plan and watch every game of every round of the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership on FOX SPORTS. T & Cs apply. SIGN UP NOW >