Brisbane assistant coach Kevin Walters says the Broncos can’t win Sunday’s NRL grand final unless halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford are on song.
Clearly unafraid to shovel pressure on the shoulders of the dynamic young pairing, Walters said they can’t afford to slip even marginally at ANZ Stadium as they square off against North Queensland’s superstar skipper Johnathan Thurston and the man who this year emerged as his ideal foil, Michael Morgan.
“If they don’t play well on Sunday then the Broncos will lose, there is no doubt about that,” Walters told Triple M.
“They need to produce the same performance they did against the Roosters last week to get the Broncos home.
“It’s a lot on their plate but they are more than capable.
“But to cut to the chase – if they don’t play well the Broncos can’t win.”
Hunt and Milford have blossomed into one of the NRL’s most potent halves combinations and were bestowed the ultimate honour by coach Wayne Bennett earlier this year, when he said they were Brisbane’s best playmakers since Walters and Alfie Langer, both now assistant coaches at the club.
It is easy to forget this is only Milford’s first season at Red Hill, following his protracted move away from the Canberra Raiders, where he spent two years.
But his understanding with Hunt is such that they look as if they’ve played together for years, clicking into gear almost from the very start of Brisbane’s NRL campaign.
Hunt, 25, has also come into his own having been for so long restricted to a bench or even a hooking role at the Broncos in the past, unable to convince coaches he was worth a punt at halfback.
“They are their own men, Hunty and Milf, and they have just been so good for the Broncos this year,” Walters said.
“They’re great young players, still so young and learning the game. This experience alone is going to be outstanding for them.”