Legends to Milford: No more excuses
Brisbane playmaking legends Darren Lockyer and Allan Langer have urged Anthony Milford to stamp his mark on the Broncos by delivering in the big games - starting on Friday night in the Queensland derby.
Milford opened up to The Courier-Mail about the pain of the 2015 grand final, admitting Brisbane's heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys is motivating him to break the Broncos' 13-year premiership drought.
The livewire pivot started slowly in last week's season-opening loss to Melbourne and is under pressure to hit back at Suncorp Stadium against a Cowboys side marshalled by halfback Michael Morgan.
Lockyer and Langer are two of Brisbane's greatest halves, starring in the Broncos' grand-final wins in 1997-98.
Lockyer won a further two titles in 2000 and 2006 - the latter representing Brisbane's most recent premiership win - and the five-eighth champion says it's time for Milford to be the playmaking boss at the Broncos.
"There will be a big build up to this derby and in big games, the big players have to stand up," Lockyer said.
"Milford is up against Michael Morgan, so there's no excuses for him to deliver this week.
"There comes a time where you can't keep talking about character and effort if you aren't executing. Brisbane's spine (comprising Milford, Kodi Nikorima, Darius Boyd and Andrew McCullough) must start executing.
"You could tell Milford was a bit underdone against the Storm not having played in the trials. He wasn't able to train fully because of his hamstring and his shoulder injuries.
"I hope Milford can find some more confidence out of that Storm game. Nikorima was the better of the two halves last week so I'd like to see Milford take control of the team and back himself."
Broncos foundation halfback Langer, who played 258 games for the club, urged Milford to do what he does best - play direct and attack the Cowboys defensive line.
"I want to see Anthony Milford back to his best and get his running game going," Langer said.
"He's had injuries before and always comes back.
"He just has to get hold of that ball and play what's in front of him."
Milford went close to winning the Clive Churchill Medal with his sizzling display in the 2015 decider. Now he craves revenge, admitting the Cowboys' 17-16 extra-time premiership win still burns.
"It keeps replaying in my head for days," Milford said. "We got close, but we weren't good enough on the night.
"What drives me is I want to win a premiership for the Broncos, that's my biggest thing.
"The only way to get rid of the 2015 memory is to win a comp, that's what drives me every week.
"It hurts big time. There's a big (premiership) drought here at the club, the title hasn't been won in a while, but I know we have the team to do it.
"There's no secret Kodi and myself play our best football when we are running the ball so that's what I need to do."