HULL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: Anthony Milford of Samoa during the Rugby League World Cup Group B match between Papua New Guinea and Samoa at Craven Park Stadium on November 4, 2013 in Hull, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The NRL's newest club have officially kicked off their pre-season, and coach Wayne Bennett has backed a former half to lead the way for his makeshift squad.

Anthony Milford managed a number of career-best performances under Bennett, highlighted by a stellar individual effort in the 2015 Grand Final, where many believe he was robbed of the Clive Churchill Medal despite being on the losing side.

Though Milford has struggled in recent seasons both on and off the field, his performance in Samoa's historic World Cup quarter-final win over Tonga showed he still has the game-changing ability he used to showcase with more frequency a few short years ago.

“I haven't coached Anthony for four years now, so it's been a while,” Bennett said at the club's first pre-season training session.

READ: The Dolphins' FULL Squad Tracker, Best 17.

“In that period of time he's had some pretty bad moments on and off the football field.

“I know what he can do. His challenge now is to come back in a stable environment where he'll get the coaching he needs. After that, it's up to Anthony.

“We'll see what's different with Anthony, but I believe he's not past it.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Anthony Milford of Samoa celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the 2017 Pacific Test Invitational match between England and Samoa at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on May 6, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

“He's only 28, he has another five years in the NRL. I know the player that he was, I've seen him go through the bad times, now he has an opportunity to come and show us what we all know he can do. That's all I can ask of him.

“It's on him to be the best player he can be. No-one is going to stop him.”

Bennett is relishing being back at the helm after 12 months away from the NRL, preparing the new club's roster as best he can.

“I'm officially back. I've had 12 months to practice,” Bennett told NewsCorp.

“Working with the players and working together as a group, that switches me on.

“In this game, everyone is replaceable. Someone else can always take your place in life.

“No-one is indispensable and I'm the same – but I'm not finished yet.”

With a number of players on World Cup duty, the Dolphins will be unable to get their entire playing group together until January, while the bulk of their NRL contingent will begin training on November 17.

This week's sessions will be led by Bennett's long-term performance chief Jeremy Hickmans, and will largely consist of development players and trialists.