Brisbane Broncos coach Kevin Walters might have urged the club’s supporters to remain patient with his under-performing team, yet it was clear Walters’ patience was running thin with Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford in the loss to the Titans.
In the post-match press conference, Walters revealed Milford’s poor defence was the reason why the No.6 was moved from the right to the left-hand side of the field.
Milford marked up against Titans star David Fifita initially — who caused all sorts of problems for the Broncos star – as he scored two tries and made yardage every time he touched the ball.
David Fifita scores his second try for the Titans
As a result Walters moved Brodie Croft to the right edge.
“Brodie was defending better maybe that was something we should have done earlier,” Walters said when asked why he switched Milford and Croft.
“It was purely a defensive strategy, Milford was having a nightmare with big Dave so couldn’t keep that happening.”
Milford had five missed tackles on the right edge and it was abundantly clear the Titans were spotting him in defence and that channel was a key part of their game plan. .
Milford is second for most missed tackles in the NRL this season with 12 in two games, alongside teammate Jordan Riki. Other Broncos David Mead, Tesi Niu, Jamayne Isaako and Alex Glenn are all in the top 50 players for missed tackles.
Milford’s tackle rate percentage sits a tick above 55 per cent.
In attack, he’s tallied two try-assists, one line break and one tackle break and is averaging 90 running metres a game.
Brodie Croft performed a lot better in defence, only missing one tackle all game.
The Broncos are already the worst performing side on the defensive end of the ball, racking up 69 missed tackles in the first two games of 2021.
That’s an average of 34.5 missed tackles per game.
David Fifita scores against his old side
Surprisingly, behind them are premiers Melbourne who have amassed 66 misses so far this season, with the Titans and Eels third and fourth respectively.
The Panthers, Roosters, Rabbitohs and Raiders have missed the least amount of tackles to start 2021.
Milford is off-contract at the end of the season, after he accepted a one-year player option in the middle of last season. The 2021 season will be the last year of a massive four-year contract extension that he signed in 2017.
Milford’s form has dipped in recent years after he signed on for close to $1 million-a-season since crossing from the Canberra Raiders at the end of 2014.