The message was simple from Brisbane after 2015 recruit Anthony Milford reportedly claimed he would not see out his NRL contract at Canberra next year – don’t blame us.
Brisbane were excited by the prospect of the Samoan international signing a two-year deal from 2015 but denied they had been in the teenager’s ear after reports emerged he would not honour the final year of his Raiders contract in 2014.
Canberra went into damage control on Friday after Milford claimed that he had been shocked by a Raiders release claiming he would line up for the NRL club next year before linking with the Broncos.
The report claimed Milford had not even signed off on starting Raiders pre-season training on December 16.
Canberra boss Don Furner did not return calls while Milford’s manager Sam Ayoub was obtuse when asked about his client’s sensational claim in Friday’s reports.
“Certain elements in the media are trying to play around with the facts,” Ayoub told AAP.
Asked if Milford was playing for Canberra next year, Ayoub said: “I will let you try to decipher between the facts and the bullshit.”
In a classic case of one-upmanship, Canberra released a statement on Wednesday saying Milford would see out the final year of his contract in 2014 moments after the Broncos had flagged a press conference to trumpet the news they had secured the young gun on a two-year deal from 2015.
It appeared to end an awkward standoff after Milford initially requested a release on compassionate grounds to link with the Broncos in 2014, relating to the health concerns of his father Halo.
Milford’s management had even threatened legal action or an NRL boycott if the release was not granted.
However, Canberra appeared to be back to square one with their young gun after Milford’s sensational claims on Friday.
But Brisbane were adamant they had nothing to do with Milford’s apparent about face.
“This has nothing to do with us. We did the right thing when we signed him for 2015-16,” a Broncos spokesman said.
Still, the prospect of Milford opting out of his 2014 Canberra contract was raised when Broncos coach Anthony Griffin announced the young gun’s two year deal on Wednesday – not that he would bite.
“We finalised the deal for 2015-16 and that is all we are focussed on – that is something that is not in our control,” Griffin told reporters.
Asked if there was salary cap room for Milford to move in next year if he did pull out of his Canberra deal, Griffin said: “That is up to Canberra and Anthony.
“It’s not up to us going forward.
“Out of respect out for both Canberra and Anthony we only want to talk about the two-year deal he has signed.”