Croft’s Broncos future in tatters as Milford returns
Star Brisbane pivot Anthony Milford is set to make a shock return from injury for Friday night's clash against the Dragons in a move that leaves Brodie Croft fighting for his future at the Broncos.
Milford injured his hamstring in round 12 and was expected to miss four to six weeks, but Brisbane's $1 million man made a surprise appearance at training on Tuesday in a sign he will make a swift return for the Dragons clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Milford wore jersey No.21 at training and Broncos caretaker coach Peter Gentle has pencilled him into the halves alongside Tom Dearden pending a final fitness test at the captain's run on Thursday.
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But the selection of Milford will ring alarm bells for Croft, who has been axed from the halves after a disappointing display in Brisbane's 36-8 loss to the Raiders last Saturday night in Canberra.
Named at five-eighth against the Raiders, Croft struggled for penetration in attack and missed two tackles, including a dismal attempt which allowed John Bateman to set up a Canberra try.
Croft trained with the reserve-grade team on Tuesday and his future at the Broncos is now under a serious cloud.
The 23-year-old was Brisbane's key off-season recruit and coach Anthony Seibold was banking on the former Storm playmaker to be the Brisbane's No.7 who broke the club's 14-year premiership drought.
But apart from one superb solo try against Parramatta in round three, Croft has largely struggled to take charge of Brisbane's offence in the club's shock slide to wooden-spoon territory.
Many believe the Milford-Dearden alliance is a better mix - they won four of five games in the halves last year - and they get a chance to re-unite this week as the Broncos chase just their second win in 13 games.
Veteran Issac Luke, who will start at hooker against his former Dragons club after Jake Turpin suffered a broken hand, said Milford's return was crucial.
"He might have one more training session before we pin down that he is playing this weekend but it is all thumbs up at the moment and he is looking good," Luke said.
"He's a tough guy. He got a chance today to have a bit of a stride out and he has got a couple more days to get his hammy right and get ready for the weekend."
In other selection news, Jordan Kahu will play his first game for the Broncos in almost two years after being named at left centre.
Prop Tom Flegler has resisted the temptation to play and will undergo shoulder surgery, with Joe Ofahengaue and Rhys Kennedy to be Brisbane's starting props.
"Jordan has been unreal at getting himself back in shape and being part of the reggies," Luke said of Kahu.
"He has been doing a great job and leading them, so he gets his chance this week and I know he'll go well."
Originally published as Croft's Broncos future in tatters as Milford returns