Rugby League


NRL: Dane Tilse predicts happy finale for Anthony Milford

Anthony Milford may be quitting the Canberra Raiders due to homesickness, but prop Dane Tilse has backed the livewire fullback to revel in the happier vibe around the club after a season of turmoil.

Milford has confirmed he will see out the final year of his Raiders contract before heading to Brisbane Broncos on a two-season deal.

The sackings of Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan and coach David Furner reduced last year to a nightmare, which Tilse believes added to Milford's restlessness.

The 19-year-old made a whirlwind visit to Raiders training last month to assure the club he intends to return, before heading home to Brisbane immediately after.

''It was a pretty crappy end to the year; if he comes into a new atmosphere he might be happier,'' Tilse said.

''The squad has really settled this year, it's a really happy camp and there's no distractions.


''No one's talking about off-field stuff when we come in, all we're worried about is getting as much out of each session as you can.

''Even if you know you're going somewhere else you'd still want to be playing the best football possible because you don't want to let your teammates down.

''You're a professional sportsperson and your job is to do your best.''

The Raiders have been written off by bookies, who have installed them third favourites for the wooden spoon - only the Wests Tigers and Parramatta are rated worse.

Tilse said Canberra was used to being an outsider, but he believes the return of young outside backs Jack Wighton (broken leg) and Edrick Lee (broken arm) will help them be a surprise packet.

Tilse said the Raiders were capable of pressing for the top four, something they haven't achieved in the 28-year-old's eight years at the club. ''We've obviously lost a couple of pretty good players in Fergo and Duges, but we've got young guys who can fill that void,'' he said.

''We've always got high expectations on ourselves and that's what we run off, not anyone else's.''

Tilse is one of a host of Raiders players off contract at the end of this year, but said he ''isn't fazed'' if he begins the year with his future still up in the air.

''I'd be happy with a two-year deal but I haven't really thought about it too much. Because we've got a new coach I'm just concentrating on playing well.''