The drawn-out tug of war between the Canberra Raiders and the Brisbane Broncos for Anthony Milford is set to come to an end.
The 19-year-old Samoa and Queensland under-20s representative has reportedly been told he needs to decide by next week so both clubs can begin planning.
Milford has signed a two-year deal with the Broncos for 2015 and 2016, but has until round 13 to change his mind because the NRL doesn't register contracts for the following season before then.
Former Maroons five-eighth Ben Ikin said on Fox Sports show NRL 360 on Wednesday night that Milford's camp had been told they needed to give an answer to the respective clubs by the end of next week.
Ikin said it was his understanding that Milford was ''confused as ever'' about his decision, giving Raiders fans hope he could renege on his deal with the Broncos and accept a lucrative offer to remain in Canberra.
Ironically, the Raiders host the Broncos in round 13 at Canberra Stadium.
The Raiders have tabled a sizeable war chest with figures around the $1 million per season mark to keep Milford in Canberra.
The Raiders have relocated Milford's immediate family from Brisbane to Canberra this year to help him concentrate on his football.
He cited homesickness as a major reason why he decided to sign with the Broncos so he could be closer to his sick father Halo.
A Broncos spokesperson said the club wouldn't comment publicly on the Milford situation; a Raiders spokesman said he had no knowledge of a deadline of next week.
Milford has been named at fullback for the Raiders for Saturday's match with the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.
He returns to the No. 1 jersey – the one he has worn all year for the Raiders – after being shifted to five-eighth for the Queensland under-20s team last week.
The junior Maroons went down 30-8 to the NSW under-20s at Penrith last Saturday night.
After starring for Samoa at last year's World Cup, Milford made the difficult decision to play for Queensland instead so he could boost his chances of a call-up for State of Origin.
Queensland under-20s coach Kevin Walters said he didn't speak to Milford about his playing future and was impressed with how he handled himself in the halves.
Walters believed Milford was a long-term option for the Maroons but said it would be hard to squeeze him into the side straight away given the team's remarkable success in eight straight series.
"He tried really hard, he didn't have a lot of luck, but he was quite impressive, we just couldn't get him enough space,'' Walters said.
"He's a very talented player, so I'm sure at some stage he's going to play at that level, it's just a matter of whether it's possibly this year because he's going to have to wait for an opportunity for that to happen.
"There are probably guys there who are in front of him, but long term he will be an option.''
Raiders chief executive Don Furner and Broncos counterpart Paul White didn't return calls from Fairfax Media on Thursday.