Newcastle captain Kalyn Ponga has said he was heartened by Anthony Milford's display in his Knights debut after the former Queensland Origin star made his long-awaited return to the NRL.
Milford was subject to the NRL's no-fault standown policy after being charged with assault following his departure from the Brisbane Broncos last year.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this year, but the charges laid against him resulted in South Sydney withdrawing a contract offer for his services.
Now able to play after inking a deal with the Knights until the end of the season, Milford made his NRL return against the Broncos, playing five-eighth in a 36-12 loss on Thursday.
While the Knights would have felt hard done by on a few calls which resulted in a blowout scoreline, Ponga was confident that Milford could build on the glimpses he showed in his Newcastle debut.
"I thought he had some quality touches. He's pretty quiet in nature in and around the joint, but on the field he's quite vocal," he said.
"I think he's only going to grow as well with the team.
"He'll start to get more confident which is what we need from him. It was awesome to be out there with him to be honest. As a player and as a fan of Milford, it was pretty cool."
Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien said he was impressed with Milford's condition to last the full 80 minutes.
"I don't think it looked his first game in a long time," he said.
"He had some really good touches early and I was like: 'Oh, hang on, this is going to be a fun night'.
"I think there were a few things he would like back in the second half, as (do the rest of) us as a team."
Meanwhile, O'Brien, whose side face the Warriors in Redcliffe next Saturday, painted a bleak picture for centre Bradman Best.
Best reeled out of a second half collision and appeared to dislocate his elbow.
"It doesn't look good, his pain threshold is unbelievable, so to see him the way he was (was concerning)," O'Brien said.
Australian Associated Press
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