NRL Rd 6 - Knights v Broncos
GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Jamayne Isaako of the Broncos is sent to the sin-bin during the round six NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium on June 18, 2020 in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Broncos great Darryn Lockyer has put four Brisbane players under the blowtorch ahead of a make-or-break season for the men from Red Hill.

Lockyer, who is a member of the Broncos board, named star five-eighth Anthony Milford, young gun Thomas Dearden, fullback Jamayne Isaako and rising rake Jake Turpin as the quartet with the most to play for in 2021.

The Broncos are coming off the worst season in their history and will be looking for a fresh start under newly-appointed coach Kevin Walters this year.

Milford was a poster-boy for the Broncos' struggles last year after an underperforming campaign given his club record contract.

The 26-year-old is set to retain his role at five-eighth but has been placed under immense pressure from Lockyer as he remains unsigned for 2022.

"It's a big year for Anthony Milford because he's coming off contract," Lockyer told WWOS. "We've seen what he's capable of but it just hasn't been consistent enough."

Dearden and Turpin are also off-contract this season, with the latter holding a player-option in his contract for next year.

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Lockyer stated that Turpin must prove his worth at dummy-half, while echoing the pressure on Dearden after the teenager fell out of Walters' plans for Round 1.

"Jake Turpin had a rough year last year with injuries, but if he wants to make that (No.9) his jersey, he needs to have a good year as well," he said.

"Tom Dearden is also now in a two-way battle with Brodie Croft so there are more questions than answers about who is the long-term No.7.

"Being a kid and getting thrown into the pressure cooker last year, he handed it very well. But at the start of your career, you're going to have flat periods."

Lockyer added that Isaako will be feeling the pressure of the young fullbacks coming through the ranks at Brisbane should he fail to impress.

"Jamayne Isaako is a real pro, but there is a young kid in Reece Walsh who is there and is going to put pressure, there is going to be some competition for the fullback spot between those two," Lockyer said.

Brisbane will get their 2021 NRL campaign underway on Friday when they host Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.

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