Wayne Bennett lashes out at the NRL for not immediately clearing Anthony Milford to return to the game despite court win – and reveals why he gave crucial evidence that helped clear star
- Anthony Milford saw three assault charges dropped in Brisbane court this week
- NRL integrity unit are now set to launch their own investigation into the matter
- Super coach Wayne Bennett is stunned powerbrokers won’t let Milford return
- Bennett coached Milford at the Broncos from 2015-2018, backed his character
Seven-time premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett ‘cannot comprehend’ why Anthony Milford has not been given the green light by NRL powerbrokers to resume his career.
Milford, 27, had three assault charges dropped in a Brisbane court on Monday following an incident with his partner in Fortitude Valley last September – but now the NRL Integrity Unit is set to launch its own investigation into the matter.
Bennett, who provided a glowing character reference for the player he coached at the Broncos between 2015 and 2018, is adamant Milford, a father of two, won’t step out of line again.
‘Of all the things I have seen in the game and the moments we’ve seen from other players who have offended, I cannot comprehend it if Anthony is not allowed to play NRL in the very near future,’ he told the Courier Mail.
‘The courts have cleared Anthony of assault. The criminal justice system has dealt with him.
‘Anthony was a first-time offender in the NRL. He pleaded guilty to the minor charges [public nuisance and wilful damage] but the courts agreed he was not guilty of assaulting anyone.’
Seven-time premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett is stunned Anthony Milford has not been given the green light by NRL powerbrokers to resume his career
Milford, 27, had three assault charges dropped in a Brisbane court on Monday following an incident with his partner in Fortitude Valley last September – but now the NRL Integrity Unit is set to launch its own investigation into the matter
Based on that outcome, Bennett stated that the ‘hopes to see’ Milford back in the NRL soon and that ‘he knows Anthony won’t offend again’.
Bennett’s character reference ‘carried quite significant weight’ when it came to convincing the court Milford’s drama was a one-off, according to magistrate Robbie Davies.
News Corp is reporting the legal dramas left Milford $175,000 out of pocket and with no income for six months.
The playmaker is now rumoured to be set to ink a short-term deal with the Newcastle Knights.
South Sydney cut ties with Milford after he was arrested and speculation is mounting Bennett will lure him to the Dolphins, who will enter the NRL as the 17th franchise from their Redcliffe base in 2023.
Milford is expected to meet with representatives from the Knights this week with his management.
He will then hope the NRL rubber-stamps his return once its own investigation is completed.
Bennett added he was happy to support the fallen star, who he points out is ‘not a problem child or a thug’ and that he has ‘never been embarrassed by Anthony’s behaviour.’