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George Clarke

Demetriou disappointed by Milford outcome

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou wants Anthony Milford to be allowed to join an NRL club. (AAP)

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou says he's disappointed the club was unable to come good on its deal to sign Anthony Milford after court proceedings derailed the five-eighth's move to Redfern.

Milford had agreed terms to sign with Demetriou's side after finishing up with Brisbane last NRL season.

The 27-year-old playmaker, a veteran of 193 NRL games, was viewed as someone who could help, and act as cover, for Souths' emerging halfback Lachlan Ilias.

The switch hit a snare, however, when the Samoa international was charged with three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of wilful damage stemming from an incident in Brisbane last September.

Milford pleaded guilty to a public nuisance and a wilful damage charge on Monday. All of his assault charges were dismissed by prosecutors, which should clear the way for him to return to the NRL.

But in the time his case was before the courts the move to the Rabbitohs broke down.

"I'm disappointed he didn't get to play for Souths due to the incident," said Demetriou, who previously worked with Milford when an assistant coach at Brisbane.

"It's not the time or the place to be talking about that.

"I've been in regular contract with him making sure he's ok.

"He's a human, he makes mistakes. I'm not just his coach but his friend and I'll continue to be there for the future."

Demetriou was hopeful the NRL would clear the way for Milford to return to first grade following the completion of his court hearing, with Newcastle linked to the five-eighth.

Milford's absence has given Ilias time to flourish at the Rabbitohs and heading into Good Friday's game with Canterbury, Demetriou's side have three wins from their first five games.

Ilias will be joined in the spine by Blake Taaffe as a replacement for injured fullback Latrell Mitchell. Taaffe and Ilias have played extensively together for Souths in the junior ranks.

But Demetriou warned against expecting the struggling Bulldogs to turn up and roll over.

"You can feel the boys are excited about it," he said.

"We know the Dogs get up for these games and they're talking about a massive crowd.

"Our focus is getting ourselves back on an even keel. The two points are the most important thing but we know we are going to be in a battle."

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