Brisbane great Justin Hodges says the Broncos must dedicate their 2019 pre-season to not only Anthony Milford but also hooker Andrew McCullough if they want NRL success next season.
Playmaker Milford has been under constant scrutiny since his move from Canberra in 2015 and was again in the spotlight after he came unstuck in Brisbane's shock 48-18 elimination final loss to St George Illawarra.
But Hodges also turned up the heat on McCullough, saying the Queensland State of Origin rake must provide more in attack if Brisbane are to threaten again for a title.
"I think Andrew McCullough needs a bit of help on that," Hodges told Fox Sports' Queenslanders Only.
"Andrew does 50 or 60 tackles a game but I would like to see him run with the ball or do something with the ball a bit more."
McCullough this year returned from a knee reconstruction to earn his Maroons debut before defying a lingering finger injury to help steer Brisbane to a home final.
But Hodges said more work needed to be done and hoped Brisbane made the development of McCullough and Milford a priority.
"I think the club needs to help them find something different in their game," he said.
"They are the guys we need to develop because they are such a big part of the Broncos.
"I would try and work on those two guys to get them ready for next year."
In the first year of a $4-million contract extension, Milford has copped criticism for his inconsistency but appeared to answer his critics in Brisbane's run to the finals.
Coach Wayne Bennett hailed the five-eighth for taking his kicking game to another level as the Broncos sealed sixth spot with three straight wins.
However, the critics were sharpening their knives after Brisbane's capitulation against the injury-hit Dragons.
It extended the Broncos' title drought to 12 years - their longest in club history.
Hodges said the loss showed how much more work needed to be done with Milford.
"I would like to see a lot of work done on Anthony Milford to keep him involved in the game," he said.
"Sometimes he has brilliant pieces of play but then goes missing for a little bit.
"(But) Milford is an unbelievable talent."
Australian Associated Press