Anthony Milford has pledged to give his all for the Raiders this season. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThey’re the words all Canberra fans have been waiting to hear from Anthony Milford – ”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them.”
The teenage sensation has vowed to give his best effort in his final season with the Raiders, claiming Canberra has the talent to ”shock” the NRL and push for the club’s first premiership in 20 years.
Milford quashed suggestions he wouldn’t be on his game this season, the 19-year-old also declaring his ambition to break into Queensland’s dominant State of Origin squad as early as this year.
Milford’s messy request for a release from the Raiders, and his subsequent decision to sign with the Brisbane Broncos for 2015, rankled many Raiders fans.
But Milford, who was discovered by the Raiders at 13, said he would not be holding anything back in his final season in Canberra.
”I’m not going to lack anything for what’s gone on,” he said.
”I’m here for this year and I want to try to do what everyone else is trying to do, and that’s win a competition.
”Our team will shock a few people this year – with the players we’ve got and the depth we’ve got.
”Fingers crossed we go really good and everyone steps up.
”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them. I’ve been with them for a while and they’ve done the right thing by me, so I’ll do the same.”
After electing to join the Broncos so he could be closer to his tight-knit family in Brisbane, Milford said he was desperate to help the Raiders lift the trophy for the first time since 1994.
New Raiders coach Ricky Stuart immediately identified Milford as a pillar of the club when he took the job in October last year.
Stuart travelled to Brisbane to speak with Milford and his family before he signed with the Broncos.
”Ricky was really good; he just spoke about what was important in life, and it was family,” Milford said.
”He didn’t try to pressure me into making a decision whether to go here or there.
”He told me to ‘do what’s best for you and your family’, and I appreciated that.”
After starring for Samoa in the World Cup, Milford is being rested for Canberra’s opening trial match and the Auckland Nines.
Having won the Mal Meninga Medal last year at full-back, and earmarked as a future half with the Broncos, he said he was happy to fill whatever role suits the Raiders.
An invitation to a recent Queensland Emerging Origin squad camp in Brisbane with Queensland Academy of Sport coach Wayne Bennett shows how highly regarded he is by representative selectors.
”I learnt a lot, especially from Wayne. The stuff he says, you try to take it in and use it,” Milford said.
”Playing for Queensland is one of my goals for this year and in the future.”
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