Bronco's Milford credits Alfie Langer for his mentorship
ALLAN Langer has been inspiring Ipswich's finest for decades.
So it is no surprise that Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford credits Langer with helping him unleash his best in his first season at the Brisbane Broncos.
Milford, 21, attended St Peter Claver College in Ipswich as a youth and is now set to line up in the NRL grand final for the Broncos against the Cowboys.
He told the QT of the influence Langer, a Broncos assistant coach, has had on him.
"Alfie is big for me," Milford said.
"He watches our game inside and out and in the big games he has been a massive influence on both myself and Benny (Hunt).
"Alfie tells us to get on the ball and not waste any opportunities on the field.
"We take all the pointers that we can from him.
"He doesn't get enough of a wrap."
Langer operates as a trainer on game day and his words of wisdom to Milford are always welcomed.
"Alf just tells me to get my hands on the ball as much as I can and to inject myself more," Milford said.
Milford didn't see Langer play football but has always held the four-time premiership winning Broncos half in high regard.
"I was a bit too young to watch Alfie, so I was growing up watching Locky (Darren Lockyer) and Benji Marshall," Milford said.
"But he has done a lot of stuff for the club and all the highlight reels of Alfie and Kevvie Walters are always good to see."
Broncos assistant coach Kevin Walters, who won five premierships with Brisbane, has also played a major role in assisting Milford and his halves partner Ben Hunt unlock their potential.
Walters played with the Booval Swifts in Ipswich before embarking on his stellar career.
He also coached the Jets to the 2008 Intrust Super Cup grand final.
Walters said that Langer's role in mentoring Milford and Hunt was not to be underestimated.
"Alf has played a big role, particularly with the on the ball stuff," Walters said.
"What our two halves are doing on the ball, and with challenging the defensive line, was really Alf's game when he played.
"It must be so good for them with him talking to them all the time during a game when he's out there (as a trainer).
"Alf has been really good for their short kicking game, and that is why you are seeing it improve all the time.
"Ben has got more controlled with his overall game.
"We are always challenging Ben and Anthony Milford to run the ball more, just because they are so good at it.
"They are now both doing that and challenging the defence."
Former Broncos forward Terry Matterson said Langer's laid back approach would also be a huge bonus in grand final week.
"Alf just relaxes them and him being there as the laid back casual guy he is just complements what Wayne (Bennett) does," Matterson said.
"Milford is a natural footballer and he won't be scared to play the way he does.
"He won't need to change anything.
"Alf will be there just saying 'do what you do and go out there and enjoy it'.
"Alf will certainly enjoy it with him. You couldn't have a better bloke around."
Langer certainly knew how to enjoy himself in grand final week in ways that the current players won't be doing.
Before the 1992 grand final Langer had a flying trip to Eagle Farm with Matterson and former Bronco forward Trevor Gillmeister.
It was the day before the grand final and when he got on the plane he had a small cut on his head after an altercation with a bookie's board.
"He had a bit of blood there," Matterson grinned.
"I can still remember it like it was yesterday.
"We had a bet and we were running across to look at the race because then we had to get out to the airport.
"He went to get under one of the bookie's boards that wasn't being operated and clipped his head.
"Alf was on the ground but he dusted himself off and was straight back up."
Milford won't be visiting the races this week.
He is just glad to be playing on the biggest stage at such at a young age.
"I just didn't think it would happen this quick," he said.
"We are very blessed to be in this position and I am very proud.
"We have come a long way."