Anthony Milford is set for a big move in the Pacific Test. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Anthony Milford is set for a big move in the Pacific Test. (AAP Image/Darren England)

All eyes will be on Milford if Samoa pulls shift

ANTHONY Milford's possible switch to fullback for Samoa in Saturday's Pacific Test against Tonga will be keenly watched in the NRL.

After a mixed start to the season and claims he hasn't lived up to his marquee salary, some including Immortal Wally Lewis have questioned whether Milford should be moved from five-eighth to fullback for Brisbane.

With the departure of Ben Hunt, Milford took on the primary playmaking duties for the Broncos but he has struggled in the role at times.

The 23-year-old is a gifted ball-runner who appears well suited to fullback, his position when he arrived in first grade and where he played for Samoa during the 2013 World Cup.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has numerous times reiterated that he'll keep playing Milford at five-eighth and, with captain Darius Boyd at fullback, it would take a drastic change of tack to move him.

Anthony Milford has struggled at times to make an impact at five-eighth. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Anthony Milford has struggled at times to make an impact at five-eighth. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

However it shapes as an interesting sub-plot to Saturday's game at Campbelltown Stadium.

Milford spent time catching high balls and standing at the back of the Samoa defensive line during the team's training run on Tuesday, suggesting coach Matt Parish will use him at No.1.

 

However he also chimed in at first and second receiver and took on kicking duties.

Along with Milford, Samoa boast Warriors half Mason Lino and Penrith's Tyrone May, meaning they have plenty of choices in the halves.

"I have no idea, I'll have to wait and see," said Milford when asked if he'll play fullback.

"The good thing is we have a lot of depth and we can put players where they want. We'll see which combinations work better and see how we go in training.

"I'm always open to anything. If it's what's best for the team and how I can put my best foot forward, that's what I'll do."

 

 

Jason Taumalolo will line up for Tonga. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Jason Taumalolo will line up for Tonga. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Saturday's game shapes as a litmus test for Samoa against a Tonga side brimming with top-line talent including Andrew Fifita, Jason Taumalolo and Michael Jennings.

After failing to win a game at last year's World Cup, and being soundly beaten 32-18 by semi-finalists Tonga during their group fixture, Samoa must show they're keeping pace with the other rapidly improving Pacific nations.

Milford said the team's goal was to one day be acknowledged as a tier-one nation, along with Australia, New Zealand and England.

"To be as big as them (the tier-one nations), that's the mindset the boys have at the moment," Milford said.

"It's about the growth of the game and the more players that pick their nations, the stronger (the Pacific Test) will get, the more even the playing field will be.

"You saw what Tonga did, they got all their players to play for them."


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