Anthony Milford now has four clubs chasing his signature but his future hinges on Souths’ battle to retain Dane Gagai.
7 min read
July 21, 2021 - 1:06PM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
News Corp understands the Rabbitohs are open to the idea of signing Milford, but his possible shift from Red Hill to Redfern hinges on South Sydney’s battle to retain Maroons flyer Gagai.
With the NRL finals on the horizon, Gagai remains off-contract and it is understood the Rabbitohs are considering beefing-up their original 12-month offer to two years to keep the 30-year-old at Redfern.
But the prospect of Gagai defecting to the Broncos, coupled with Benji Marshall inching towards retirement, would give the Rabbitohs the funds to make a play for besieged Broncos playmaker Milford.
Wayne Bennett embraces Anthony Milford during their time at the Broncos (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
With Parramatta’s interest in Milford cooling, the Rabbitohs shape as a frontline contender for his signature given the $1 million man’s history with Bennett’s successor Jason Demetriou, who worked with the five-eighth at Brisbane.
Former Broncos assistant Demetriou will back himself to get Milford firing again and Bennett believes the Rabbitohs could be a good fit for the former Queensland Origin utility.
“I don’t know where ‘Milf’ will end up, but Jason is pretty close to Anthony,” said Bennett, who will pass the Souths coaching baton to Demetriou at season’s end.
“Jason likes him and has worked with him so there might be an opportunity here (for Milford).
“Jason would be happy to have him at the club, but I don’t know what Milf is chasing and how much money the club has left in the cap.
“Jason knows Milf can play and they worked well together at the Broncos, but it depends on Souths — they might have other plans around their halfback because I won’t be there next year.”
Rabbitohs head coach Wayne Bennett (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Souths are already losing first-choice halfback Adam Reynolds to the Broncos next season and the Rabbitohs could suffer a further scrumbase blow if the 36-year-old Marshall decides to retire.
Whether Milford partners Souths maestro Cody Walker in the halves in 2022 could hinge on Gagai’s next move.
The Broncos have expressed interest in Gagai, but have yet to table a formal offer due to salary-cap restrictions.
The Rabbitohs have offered Gagai a one-year deal worth around $450,000, but it is understood Brisbane may struggle to pay more than $400,000 for the Origin centre, who debuted at the Broncos in 2011.
“Dane is a player that remains on our radar, but at this point in time we are not in a position to table anything for him,” Broncos football boss Ben Ikin said.
“It will be a wait-and-see scenario. It depends what we can afford.”
Anthony Milford during Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill. Picture: Liam Kidston
Milford, a veteran of 189 games who turned 27 a fortnight ago, says he is prepared to move to Sydney if the Rabbitohs are keen.
“I’ve got two young girls so my family comes first now — I will go wherever I need to for them and what best suits my football,” he said.
“I honestly believe I have more in me.
“I’m only 27. I know the hunger and the passion is there. I still love playing the game so hopefully a fresh start can be good for me.”