The stage is set for Brisbane’s Samoan rugby league international Anthony Milford to play off for a Queensland State of Origin jersey with Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters said he would run the rule over the pair in their NRL clash at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night as he contemplates potential cover for injured playmaker Jonathan Thurston.
Walters is sweating on Thurston to overcome a shoulder injury ahead of May 31’s Origin opener in Brisbane.
Walters said Milford’s duel with Cherry-Evans would help decide who would step in for the inspirational pivot if their worst fears are realised.
Milford was relentlessly targeted in defence as Queensland under 20s captain in their 36-12 loss to NSW in 2013.
But Walters had full confidence Milford, 22, would not be a weak link if he made his Origin debut.
“I think he will be fine,” Walters said.
“He’s a solid little player. I wouldn’t have any problems if we went down that path.”
Brisbane captain and incumbent Queensland fullback Darius Boyd believes Milford is ready for Origin.
“I think he is. I know personally that having guys like Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith around you, that lifts your game – they make you better players,” he said.
Despite his confidence that Milford would shine on the Origin stage he believes he has some things to work on for Brisbane against Manly.
“Things like game management and fifth tackle options.”
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga agreed Milford should be in the mix if Thurston was sidelined.