Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett (left) and Anthony Milford.
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett (left) and Anthony Milford.

Broncos star backs Bennett to stay

BRONCOS player of the year Anthony Milford says he and his teammates trust in Wayne Bennett to serve out his last year as Brisbane coach.

Milford cut through scrutiny over whether Bennett will jump aboard the NRL coaching merry-go-round.

Bennett on Sunday declined to untangle different interpretations over his comments at the Broncos presentation dinner on whether he would head Brisbane's 2019 campaign.

"Interpretation is up to you,'' Bennett texted when asked if his comments were ­intended to mean he would coach the Broncos in the last year of his contract.

Bennett did use the word "we'' when referring to the 2019 Broncos while addressing the function audience. So did out-of-contract winger Corey Oates.


"Whatever happens in the media, I know Wayne will be here. He has a whole lot of trust with the boys,'' said Milford, who overhauled runner-up Matt Lodge in the voting for the club's Paul Morgan Medal for best player.

Anthony Milford was named the Broncos best. Photo: AAP
Anthony Milford was named the Broncos best. Photo: AAP

"We will definitely be playing for him and backing him.

"We'll be doing everything we can to play for him, whether he stays on longer or not.

"We have a very good coach and if we can keep the youth together, we can definitely do something special next year.''

The way football clubs work, Saturday's presentation night was an opportunity for Bennett and the club to break from one campaign and address issues about the next season.

Asked if there was now any clarity over Bennett's plans to coach Brisbane, Wests Tigers or another club, Bennett's manager George Mimis said there was "nothing that Wayne has not already said''.

There was no intimation from Bennett's actions after the dinner that the year-end function had been an occasion for him to say farewells to staff and players.

Bennett leaves Brisbane on Wednesday to coach England in three Tests against New Zealand.

Wayne Bennett will coach England when they take on New Zealand. Photo: Hannah Peters
Wayne Bennett will coach England when they take on New Zealand. Photo: Hannah Peters

Broncos staffers say there has been no indication from Bennett that he will be leaving Red Hill.

For Bennett to move to the Tigers would mean living in Sydney near their inner-west training base, which is not a patch on Brisbane's $25 million facility, to coach an inferior list in 2019, while prevailing on his preferred staff to move there as well.

Milford said he would not rush a return from shoulder surgery in Round 1 in March if it proved wiser to wait a few more weeks.

"I'll accept what it is but I want to do everything I can off the field so it's the best I can be,'' Milford said.

"I will do whatever is best for the club.

"It (winning the Morgan Medal) has only motivated me a little more to succeed with the club and exceed all the expectations of being a Bronco. This year I've taken on more about where I'm going to end up for the kick (late in a set), where we are going in the set and who is tired (in the opposition defence)

"We definitely picked it up towards the back end of the year with Kodi Nikorima. I know a lot of pre-season will only dot that good.

"Watching the grand final I thought of our boys the whole time and thinking about what we could have achieved. I'm pretty sure we'll put in a big pre-season and do everything we can to be thereabouts at the end of next year.''

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