Raiders fullback Anthony Milford has shone in a 36-20 win over the Titans on the Gold Coast.
Fullback Anthony Milford has produced an NRL masterclass to guide Canberra to an upset 36-20 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
The 20-year-old livewire, who last month rejected a rich offer from the Raiders to sign with Brisbane, only underlined how much they’ll miss him next season with a sublime performance at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Milford was involved in everything in the first half, scoring one try and having a hand in two others as the visitors went to halftime leading 20-10.
His second try – four minutes from fulltime – was the icing on the cake for the Raiders as they snapped a four-match losing streak.
Titans coach John Cartwright conceded most of his side’s preparations had been about thwarting Milford, but in the end they were powerless to stop him.
“He is a rare talent,” said Cartwright.
“He produces that bit of class. He was just too good.
“They’re sure going to miss him.”
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, who tried desperately to convince Milford to pull out of the Broncos deal, said he was headed for a massive future.
“We all know he is a special talent,” he said.
“He is still only a kid so he has a huge future.”
While Canberra remain only the smallest of mathematical chances of playing in the finals, the loss was a major blow to the Titans who blew a golden chance to move back within striking distance of the top eight.
It was the club’s sixth home loss in a row, played before a disappointing crowd of 10,574.
Milford’s highlight came on the stroke of halftime when he produced a brilliant no-look tap-on for Jarrod Croker to storm over under the crossbar and the centre’s conversion meant the Raiders had racked up 14 unanswered points.
Canberra started the second half by continually punching holes in the Titans’ defence but the tide soon swung.
The video referee controversially overruled a try to Maurice Blair after 55 minutes, but the Titans were not to be denied a minute later when Gordon somehow managed to stay in the field of play as he planted the ball in the corner.
The Raiders regained their composure and a try to Shaun Fensom through a yawning gap in the Titans’ defence sealed the result 13 minutes from the final whistle.
Further tries to halfback Josh McCrone and Milford rubbed salt in the wounds before Faifai Loa’s second try – after the final siren – added small consolation for the Titans.