At just 23 years of age, tough midfielder Tom Miles has experienced more VFL success than many.
Before moving to Coburg this year, Miles captained the Box Hill development league side for two years, leading the Hawks to a premiership in 2013 and winning the best and fairest in 2014. This Sunday he will face his former side – for whom he played 53 Development League games – for the first time in Coburg colours.
Miles insists he will approach his return to Box Hill City Oval like any other game and just wants to play his role. He does, however, admit that he may be useful in German’s preparation.
“I’ll have a chat with him on Wednesday night about a few different things to go through with the Box Hill preview and how they like to move their footy,” Miles said. “I’ve definitely got a fair bit of knowledge in that area.”
Miles moved to Coburg seeking more senior VFL football – and his hard work during the pre-season was rewarded with selection and Coburg debut in the Lions’ opening round win over former aligned partner Richmond.
“With Coburg being a standalone club, obviously there’s more opportunity for me to play senior football and also, out of the other standalone clubs, I feel Coburg is going in the right direction,” Miles said. “Talking to Peter German and Craig Lees about the club’s future, it sounded really promising and exciting where the club’s going. So that’s what appealed to me.”
“Germo really makes sure he gets the best out of every player. He doesn’t accept mediocrity and that was one of the key attributes that we took into round one.”
“He made sure we’re all working defensively, we work as a tight team and that’s obviously a key contributor to our round one win.”
Sporting a bandaged head after an early knock, Miles had 12 possessions (three contested), five tackles and four marks in the 15-point win over the Tigers. He brings a wealth of VFL experience to Coburg, including leadership and communication skills that he learned and developed during his time with the Hawks. The ex-Waverley Blues junior plans to be vocal to help direct and set up the Lions’ young, versatile, talented playing group.
After a disappointing 2014 – which saw Coburg win five games in its first year as a standalone club - German and his coaching and recruiting staff have added 34 new players to the Coburg list this season.
“With the talent that’s been brought into the club from other VFL clubs, other TAC clubs, even local footy, Coburg’s really been on the front foot with all of it,” Miles said.
“I think that showed with how our pre-season’s gone, even with our round one win on the weekend, that Coburg’s taking steps to move in the right direction.”
Coburg will look to continue to build valuable momentum with another strong performance this weekend, which, Miles hopes, will leave the Lions in good stead for a successful season and some September action.
“I’d love to be a part of Coburg’s first finals stint as a standalone club. That’s something that’s really exciting for me.”