GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Anthony Milford of the Broncos looks dejected during the round two NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium on March 19, 2021, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Anthony Milford's time at the Newcastle Knights was supposed to be about as short term as it gets, but new reports suggest the club are now keen on keeping him beyond the end of 2022.

The Knights have signed Milford on a short-term deal through to the end of the season, with the NRL clearing his return from Round 11.

The former Brisbane Bronco has been widely tipped to link up with the Dolphins for 2023 under former coach Wayne Bennett. The coach and five-eighth played in the 2015 grand final at the club against the North Queensland Cowboys.

However, according to The Newcastle Herald, the Knights are keen to throw a cat amongst the pigeons and potentially secure Milford beyond the end of 2022.

It's an event Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett foreshadowed last week, suggesting to Code Sports that the Dolphins wouldn't have it all their own way in discussions with Milford.

“We are interested in Anthony Milford,” Bennett told the publication.

“He has gone to Newcastle now and they will be keen to retain him, so that will be an issue for us.

“We got the best out of Anthony at the Broncos. Jason Demetriou (former Broncos assistant) was involved there with me and Steve Kearney also helped with Milford, he played some great footy for us.

“We all know what he brings but he needs a change of scenery. I feel for what he has gone through, it’s been over the top (his treatment by the NRL), but he has a dateline now where he can start playing and hopefully he can get on with his life."

Dolphins Media Opportunity

The move from the Knights to try and convince Milford to remain in the Hunter comes after he commenced training with the side in the last fortnight ahead of his return.

There are limited halves options in the market, and the Knights are desperate for upgrades after a number of losses following what was a successful start to the season.

So bad has it become, Adam O'Brien has elected to remove both Adam Clune and Jake Clifford from his side for Saturday night's Round 9 encounter with the North Queensland Cowboys, instead, selecting Tex Hoy and Phoenix Crossland to take the two positions.

The Dolphins are yet to sign their first half for next year's campaign with NRL experience, with only Isaiya Katoa from the Penrith Panthers pathways system signing on as part of their top 30 thus far.

Should the Knights manage to pull off Milford's signing, it would be the second time the Knights have stopped the Dolphins, with the expansion club previously chasing Kalyn Ponga before the star Queensland State of Origin fullback elected to re-sign with the Knights on a five-year deal.