NRL 2022: Magic Round, return Anthony Milford, Newcastle Knights, Kalyn Ponga, contract

Anthony Milford opened up in a candid interview prior to his return to NRL, revealing the impact Andrew Johns has had on his game.

Anthony Milford opened in a candid interview prior to his return to NRL, revealing the incredible impact Andrew Johns had on his game as he planned his Knights debut.

Milford, who had played 193 NRL games with the Raiders and the Broncos, initially signed a one-year contract with the Rabbitohs before being charged with three counts of assault following an accident in Brisbane last September.

Milford has since been cleared of those charges, but the South Sydney deal has never been registered by the NRL, forcing him to look elsewhere for a lifeline.

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He found it in Newcastle, though Milford admitted in a wide-ranging interview with news corpthat he never expected to find himself in the Hunter.

“I never thought I’d find myself living in Newcastle playing for the Knights,” said Milford.

“It will be strange to confront the Broncos. The key is to treat it like any other game. I’ll do my homework on them. They are doing pretty well as a team with Adam Reynolds calling the shots so it will be a great test for me.

“Not having played for seven months was a pretty lousy feeling, to be honest, but this is my chance to help Newcastle change that.

“I am grateful to the Knights for taking an interest in me at a difficult time in my life. They helped me in this situation while others didn’t. I’m glad the NRL allowed me to return, provided I did the things they wanted me to do and am doing it. “

Milford has revealed some advice from legendary Knights midfielder Johns could help take his game even further after a lengthy layoff.

“I met ‘Joey’. He blew me away, ”said Milford.

“I’ve had a few sessions with him and his footballing brain is fantastic. He knows the game thoroughly and I listen to him very closely and observe the things he is trying to teach Kalyn and me.

“It’s quite interesting for my education to work with an immortal like Joey.”

While the Knights scored a much needed win on Friday against the Bulldogs, the challenge now will be to build on that win.

The key to doing this lies in not being so dependent on Kalyn Ponga in the attack position and Milford said he can help there.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Kalyn,” he said.

“I think I can help him and we can bring out the best in each other and if we do he will help the team. Kalyn is a special talent, but there are other players here with real potential in the Knights. “

Milford admitted it was “disappointing” when his deal in South Sydney was not registered with the NRL, revealing that it left him stranded and his future uncertain.

“I got there on Tuesday, went for medicals on Wednesday and had to be registered on Thursday, but that’s when I found out I couldn’t be registered,” Milford said.

“I ended up working one on one with one of the coaches who did some basic training with me.

“I was stuck in Sydney with the Covid situation. We had about three weeks in Sydney where I was alone and not getting paid so I had to sort things out.

“I stayed in an apartment in Surry Hills for a few weeks, but then when things fell apart with Souths and NRL, I was nowhere to be found.

“When the borders were opened again, I was on the first flight back to Queensland.”

Now Milford is ready to start a new chapter in his career at Newcastle, although he admits his manager has had “some talks” with the Dolphins and former Broncos manager Wayne Bennett.

“But my only target right now is the Knights and let’s see what happens,” he added.

“I’m not even looking that far with the Dolphins. I appreciate the chance the Knights have given me and I want to make sure I repay their faith first. Now I have another chance and I can’t waste it. “

Originally published as Anthony Milford opens with seven “lousy” exile before the return of NRL