Gold Coast youngster Touk Miller has been rewarded for his stunning debut season with the Round 16 Rising Star nomination.
Miller dominated proceedings on Saturday as the Suns went down to the rival expansion club, GWS by 15 points, collecting 27 disposals – 18 contested – nine clearances, seven inside 50s, five tackles and kicking two goals in the encounter.
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The 19-year-old midfielder has played every game in his debut season after getting drafted with pick 29 in last year’s draft, averaging 18 disposals, four tackles, and three inside fifties across his 15 matches in 2015.
A strong bodied small midfielder, Miller has shown great aptitude for contested situations and hunts the ball well. He is known for a hard-nosed approach and is considered a future leader after captaining both Vic Metro in the Under-18 Championships and the Calder Cannons at TAC Cup level in 2014.
“he’s got such a good attitude. At the start of the year, he showed up a lot of the players in the way you should train and go about it” – Rodney Eade
The 178cm Miller averaged 17 disposals at 78 percent efficiency during last year’s national carnival and 22 touches and a goal across 13 matches during the TAC Cup – including three majors in the Cannons Grand Final defeat.
Miller has drawn comparisons to Melbourne captain Nathan Jones due to his ability to extract the ball and find teammates in heavy traffic at stoppages and was a standout during his first AFL pre-season with his elite endurance.
Speaking post-match on Saturday, Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade said he’s been impressed with Miller’s consistency and professionalism during his first season at the elite level.
“Touk’s had a great year. His performance today was first class. While he’s not the silky skills of some of the other players who have Rising Star nominations, he’s probably had only three down games for the year and played 11 or 12 really good games and today was the pinnacle of that,” Eade said.
“He’s good around the ball and his ability to negate the opposition, put pressure on, and win the ball back in that tight situation is terrific.
“He’s really improving and he’s got such a good attitude. At the start of the year, he showed up a lot of the players in the way you should train and go about it; he’s really led the way and a lot of players are coming with him.
“Internally, we’re trying to increase the players’ boldness with the ball and in think Touk’s taken that on board. He’s just that young foal who doesn’t have any fear.”
As a junior, Miller split his time between football and cricket. He made his senior debut for local football club Maribyrnong Park at age 15 and became the second youngest person to play for premier cricket club North Melbourne before choosing to pursue AFL as a career.
He is the 11th Sun to be nominated for the award since their inception into the competition in 2011 and follows Adam Saad, Jack Martin, Kade Kolodjashnij, Tom Nicholls, and Jaeger O’Meara as the club’s sixth nomination in three years.
RISING STAR NOMINEES FOR 2015
Round 1 – Kamdyn McIntosh (Richmond)
Round 2 – Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs)
Round 3 – Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans)
Round 4 – Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Round 5 – Adam Saad (Gold Coast SUNS)
Round 6 – Cory Gregson (Geelong)
Round 7 – Billy Hartung (Hawthorn)
Round 8 – Cameron McCarthy (GWS Giants)
Round 9 – Jesse Hogan (Melbourne)
Round 10 – Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne)
Round 11 – Tim Broomhead (Collingwood)
Round 12 – Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs)
Round 13 – Charlie Cameron (Adelaide Crows)
Round 14 – Jack Lonie (St Kilda)
Round 15 – Dom Sheed (West Coast Eagles)
Round 16 – Touk Miller (Gold Coast Suns)