DEVELOPMENT coach Brad Miller says his return to Melbourne feels like returning home, after he spent almost the entire 2000s with the club as a player.
Miller, who played 133 matches with Melbourne from 2002-10 and added another 24 appearances with Richmond from 2011-12, said he was rapt to have returned to the Demons, albeit in a different role.
“I’ve only been back probably a month with the boys, but it’s been fantastic and feels like coming home, so I’m really, really enjoying it,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“The boys have been giving everything they’ve got, so it’s been a really good start.”
Miller said it was important to have had a few years away from the Demons.
“It’s good to go away and get some experience at another club, just to see how they run things,” he said.
“It gives me a few ideas that maybe the guys aren’t doing here or maybe we’re doing here that they weren’t doing over there. It’s good to try and compare your time at both clubs.
“Coming back to Melbourne, it’s a very professional club, with the way they approach training and preparation. All of the facilities are A1, so in that sense, there isn’t a lot of difference, but we’ve just got to get a bit of confidence in the playing group and get them playing good footy and we’ll see some big improvements.”
Miller, who has been appointed development coach, will work closely with head of development Brett Allison and Casey coach Rohan Welsh.
“My main role will be under Rohan Welsh at Casey. I’ll be a line coach down at Casey and helping out the young guys that play down there. I think on average we’ll have 15 or 16 players play at Casey every week,” he said.
“I’ll go to the majority of their games, and when we’ve got a home game at the MCG, I’ll go and sit in the box and take the guys through exactly what Roosy (Paul Roos) is trying to get across to the group.
“[I’ll] try and give them tasks that they have to focus on throughout the game, rather than just go in as a spectator, so they actually go in and learn something.”
Miller’s focus is on the first and second year players, working closely with Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent, Dom Barry, Maia Westrupp, plus NAB AFL Draft picks Christian Salem, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jayden Hunt and NAB AFL Rookie selections James Harmes, Max King and Alex Georgiou.
He has also been impressed with a couple of midfielders early on this pre-season.
“There’s been quite a few and there are a lot of guys I haven’t seen play quite a lot,” Miller said.
“Young guys like Jimmy Toumpas – he’s a really good trainer and he runs to the right spots. Even Matt Jones, who is a bit of an older guy, but I haven’t seen him play a lot. The way that he positions himself and puts himself in the right spot is really good and exciting.
“Jesse Hogan is a big brute. He’s a man chucked in a kid’s body, so he’s going to definitely come out and have an impact as well.”
Miller couldn’t speak highly enough of coach Paul Roos and said his influence was already evident.
“It’s been really good. He just speaks and everyone listens,” he said.
“He’s got a lot to offer and the guys are just soaking it all in like a sponge at the moment. He’s teaching me a lot, just being a young coach and with the experience he’s got, so it’s been really good to listen to him speak to the group.”
“Also, the way he addresses the coaching group, like a team within a team – it’s been great for me to learn in these early stages. But I just see him as being fantastic for the group and fantastic for the club.”