New man Milford ready to learn at the Broncos

Brisbane Broncos players run during a fitness test in Brisbane yesterday.
Brisbane Broncos players run during a fitness test in Brisbane yesterday. DAN PELED AAP

STAR recruit Anthony Milford was the star attraction on the first day of pre-season training at the Broncos, but returning coach Wayne Bennett was nowhere to be seen.

"He's probably on the farm," quipped one onlooker.

"He doesn't really need to be here today, he's fitter than all the players."

Bennett will be back in charge today, however, as he begins to prepare his squad for season 2015, and works through a number of selection issues including who will captain the team next season.

The seven-time NRL premiership-winning coach has already made some key decisions and changes at Red Hill, releasing a number of players including fullback Josh Hoffman and forwards Martin Kennedy (Roosters), David Hala (Titans) and Ben Hannant and Jake Granville (Cowboys).

Milford, who helped launch the club's new playing strip with last season's co-captain Justin Hodges and centre Jack Reed, said he was excited to be able to learn from assistant coaches and former champion Broncos halves Kevin Walters and Allan Langer, as well as ex-skipper Darren Lockyer, who is on the club's board of directors.

The former Raider also said he was looking forward to playing alongside 2014 club champion Ben Hunt, now part of Australia's Four Nations campaign.

"Hunt as been on fire so I will learn a few things off him, and all the good people around the club who can help me," Milford said.

"It would be good to learn from one of the greats," he said when Lockyer's named was raised.

Milford also said he was excited by the prospect of playing in a Bennett-coached side.

"I hope to learn a lot from him," the softly spoken 20-year-old said.

"He's been around the game for a long time, and is one of the most successful coaches who is still doing it. I'll do my best to learn as much as I can off him."

Hodges, who is hoping to retain the club captaincy, said he'd always been a huge fan of Milford, tipping he would become one of the greats alongside former stars like Walters, Langer and Lockyer. Bennett will delay naming a captain until the new year, with Hodges and last season's co-captain Corey Parker among the candidates. Sam Thaiday, who had a taste of the captaincy in 2012, Kiwi international Alex Glenn and hooker Andrew McCullough are also seen as potential long-term captains.

Hodges said despite some initial apprehension, he had loved the responsibility of being captain last season.

"I love the club," the star centre said.

"I won a comp here before, but to hold that trophy up at the end of the year as captain would probably be one of the greatest moments of my career."

Topics:  anthony milford brisbane broncos four nations nrl wayne bennett

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