Anthony Milford finally breaks his silence on his exile from the NRL to reveal how Souths left him stranded ‘nowhere’ and why he’ll never forget Wayne Bennett’s amazing gesture as he hit rock bottom
- Former Broncos star has lashed out at Souths over his treatment last year
- Milford is eternally grateful for Wayne Bennett’s support during his exile
- Halfback is on course to debut for Newcastle against Brisbane in round 11
In the last seven months former Broncos star Anthony Milford has been charged with assault, lost $175,000 in wages in a contract stand-off with the NRL and been reduced to living in a room at his parents’ house with his footy future in limbo.
Now the 27-year-old has broken his silence on his battle to get back on the field, revealing he’s been in talks with the Dolphins after coach Wayne Bennett played a crucial role in getting him out of legal trouble and saying he was ‘left nowhere’ by South Sydney.
Milford is on track to debut for Newcastle against his old Broncos club next Thursday and said he still has a point to prove in the NRL.
It’s a pity he’s not returning against Souths, judging by his criticism of the club after they signed him to a one-year deal that wasn’t registered, then dropped off him when his assault charge came up.
After seven months in the footy wilderness, Milford looks set to return for Newcastle against his old club Brisbane next Thursday – bringing an end to seven months in the footy wilderness
Milford had three assault charges dropped by a Brisbane court, with a character reference from Wayne Bennett proving crucial – as was the supercoach’s unwavering support as he battled his way back into the game
‘The Souths stuff was disappointing … I was on my own and I wasn’t getting paid. When things fell apart with Souths and the NRL, I was left nowhere,’ Milford told the Courier Mail.
He was stuck in Sydney due to Covid restrictions for about three weeks last August as his deal with the Bunnies fell apart, then jetted back to Queensland, where he was arrested in late September and charged with three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm.
A Brisbane court dismissed the charges last month and Milford pleaded guilty to public nuisance and wilful damage, paving the way for his return to first grade with the Knights.
He revealed he is currently in counselling, which is a condition of him being allowed back into the NRL, struggled with training by himself and was barred from getting a game with Souths Logan as he waited for the all-clear to join his new club.
Milford is full of praise for Newcastle, saying, ‘They’ve had my back through this situation when others didn’t.’
Bennett constantly checked up on Milford during his exile – something the ex-Bronco will never forget. Now he’s been in talks with the coach’s new club, the Dolphins
Just a few years ago the halfback drove Brisbane to within a hair of a grand final win and was earning $1million a year. Before the Knights signed him he had been living in a room at his parents’ house after losing out on $175,000 in earnings
But one person who always stuck up for him is Wayne Bennett – and that could see the supercoach’s new club reap the rewards.
Bennett’s character reference was crucial to his former player’s success in court and now the former Broncos halfback could be a crucial signing for the Dolphins when they debut next year.
‘My manager has had some talks with the Dolphins,’ Milford said. ‘It was massive to have Wayne on my side.
‘Through the whole drama, he always called me and checked on my welfare in that six-month period. I am grateful to have someone like him and the advice he gave me.
‘He didn’t have to check on me through that time, he was busy himself, but he always found time for me, which I will never forget.’
Milford has worked with some of the best minds in the game in his 193-match career, and he’s ‘blown away’ to be getting coaching from Andrew Johns at Newcastle as he trains up to four times a day to make up for lost time.