Slater on where Milford must improve
THE NRL's greatest fullback, Queensland champion Billy Slater, believes Anthony Milford needs to improve his positional play or risk being exposed by Eels halfback Mitchell Moses in Sunday's sudden-death final.
Milford has been urged to step up by Broncos coach Anthony Seibold as he prepares for a blockbusting back-field duel with Parramatta skipper Clint Gutherson in the death-or-glory showdown at Bankwest Stadium.
Since his move to fullback, Milford has shown touches of class, winning five of nine games and producing 41 tackle busts in a sign he is revelling in an unshackled role free of the burden of frontline playmaking.
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Slater has been impressed with Milford's transition and believes he can be a great long-term fullback, but admits the Eels can exploit his tactical inexperience in the No.1 jumper.
"Anthony needs to improve his positional play," said Slater, the 319-game Storm legend and the code's pre-eminent fullback for a decade.
"I see the playmaker and kickers of rival teams taking advantage of him a little bit.
"If you look at how many times he has to bring the ball out of the corner and go back and get it, that's purely a sign of inexperience in the role.
"It might only be three metres, but those metres make a huge difference in finals and the reaction time getting to the kick is significant.
"If I was working with Anthony, I would be getting him up to speed and improving that area of his game."
Since his official switch in round 17 against the Warriors, former five-eighth Milford has looked dangerous in many game.
The Origin ace has three line-breaks, six try assists and is averaging 300 kick metres and 101 running metres, numbers which suggest Seibold's tactical gamble is paying dividends.
Slater said the conundrum for the Broncos was Milford would not be the finished product at fullback in time for Sunday's elimination final against an Eels outfit that flogged Brisbane 38-10 at Bankwest in round 14.
"To perfect the fullback position, you need time," Slater said.
"For Anthony Milford to be great positionally, he needs two or three seasons at fullback.
"It is a demanding position where you can't just focus on one thing, you have to adapt to so many areas of the game.
"Milford is a great ball runner, he is very dangerous, but it's equally important that he works with his key position players to put some plays on.
"At the moment, I see Anthony trying to do it all himself. It's like … give me the ball, run here from dummy half, but he needs to be getting the ball in good situations.
"Darius Boyd excelled in three-on-two situations. If the Broncos can get the ball (to Milford) in a half-opportunity rather than no opportunity, he will be more dangerous."
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