Canberra Raiders and Samoan rugby league star Anthony Milford will honour the remaining season of his contract in Canberra, but will return to Brisbane immediately afterwards.
The superstar outside back and half today signed a two year deal with the Brisbane Broncos from the start of 2015, clearing all speculation that has surrounded his future in recent months.
He will return to pre-season training with the Raiders on December 16, and chose not to fight the club for a release to move back to Brisbane early on compassionate grounds.
He showed signs home sickness back in July and began seeking an early release as his father, Halo Milford, became seriously ill.
The Raiders refused to hold back on his contract and never looked like granting him a release, sparking concern from his manager Sam Ayoub who threatened a legal investigation should Milford still desire the early release.
However today Milford erased all of this, announcing he will return to the nation’s capital in 2014.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart today told Fairfax Media he was disgusted that NRL rules allow great potential for clubs to lose players they had solely developed.
Milford was raised through a program with Raiders feeder club Souths Logan in Brisbane’s southern suburbs, on a scholarship he achieved aged 13.
‘‘It puts our whole deal in jeopardy with Souths Logan. Why do we keep putting money into Souths Logan and putting money into our development pathways to just keep losing these players,’’ Stuart told Fairfax.
‘‘Milford’s going to be a special talent, yet we do all the development work for him.
‘‘There has to be some compensation for clubs developing juniors.
Milford’s deal has not included any escape clauses, including the NRL’s round 13 contract registration rule. While this rule could still realistically come into play, the fact Milford did not include it in his new contract means his decision is practically set in stone.
Milford was in electric form for Samoa before they were knocked out of the current rugby league world cup in the United Kingdom, scoring 22 points in just four games- his first international appointments.
He has played 18 games for the Raiders, and next to his nine tries, has been instrumental in assisting plays and making line breaks around the park
Today’s signing with Brisbane has created some drama at the Broncos with the future of fullback Josh Hoffman looking bleak.
The signing of Ben Barba and now Milford, plus negative comments from Justin Hodges puts his spot in the team in enormous jeopardy.
Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin today told media it was far too early to decide what position Milford would fill in his squad.