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Bennett gives Milford go ahead for Samoa

NZN 26/04/2017 Laine Clark

Wayne Bennett has promised to support Anthony Milford if the Brisbane pivot wants to play for Samoa in next week's Test against England.

Broncos coach Bennett had been accused of standing in Milford's way when Samoa's selectors came calling in the past.

However, Bennett said his advice to Milford ahead of Samoa's May 6 Test against England at Campbelltown was simple - if you are fit, you can play.

Asked if Milford had told him he would play for Samoa, Bennett - who is also the England coach - said: "No he hasn't. I haven't asked him.

"But my statement to all (Brisbane players) is that I am happy for them to play as long as they are injury-free.

"If they are carrying injuries I don't want them to play, a week off would help them more.

"So I have pretty much left it up to them."

Bennett denied he had ever blocked Milford from playing for Samoa, saying the livewire playmaker simply didn't want to in the past.

Bennett may not cherish the prospect of Milford lining up against his England side but the master coach said his Brisbane charge would have the final word on his Test availability.

"If he comes up to me and says he doesn't want to play for Samoa then I will back him," he said.

"It's up to him."

Milford is free to play for Samoa after missing out on Kangaroos selection for their May 5 trans-Tasman Test in Canberra.

Under revised eligibility rules, players can nominate a tier-one nation - Australia, New Zealand or England - and a second-tier nation.

They can switch between their two countries multiple times within a World Cup cycle.

Milford represented Samoa at the 2013 World Cup.

However, he made himself unavailable for the island nation to play for Queensland's Under 20s in 2014 to be eligible for State of Origin.

He looked set to land in the middle of a representative tug of war ahead of the 2017 World Cup before the eligibility rule change last September.

Bennett's England clash with Samoa as part of an international triple-header on May 6 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. In the other Tests, Fiji take on Tonga while PNG tackle the Cook Islands.

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