Senior Coach Stuart Dew says vice-captain Touk Miller has set the benchmark for his teammates to rise to in Saturday’s Round 15 fixture against North Melbourne.
Miller is arguably the best form of his career, not only averaging 30 touches to go with a team-high 5.8 score involvements per game, but consistently raising the bar with his work-rate.
With captains Jarrod Witts (ACL) and David Swallow (concussion) both unavailable for selection this week, as well as fellow vice-captain Sam Collins (ankle), Miller will take the reins as skipper against the Kangaroos in Hobart.
In a squad troubled by inconsistency throughout 2021, Miller’s output week-in, week-out hasn’t got unnoticed by Dew.
“He’s led all year… he always demands really high levels. Essentially, we’re asking him to keep what he’s bringing – he’s in All-Australian form, his leadership’s gone to a new level this year and we’re really proud of who he’s become,” Dew said.
“We’re not asking Touk Miller to be better, we’re asking the others to lift. We’re looking for guys to step up and take the opportunity.
“We’ve had real inconsistencies and that’s been highlighted clearly in the last couple of weeks. They’ve really cost us, and those periods have been far too great.
“That’s our focus, driving that consistency with the group, regardless of who’s playing.”
Dew admits the SUNS weren’t at their contested best in the Round 14 defeat against Port Adelaide, and bringing that energy to the contest has been a focus ahead of Saturday’s date with the Kangaroos.
“Although we won the clearances (against Port Adelaide), it’s the contested possession post-clearance we need to work on,” Dew added.
“The energy [in training] has been really good all week. Even though there’s disappointment [from the weekend], energy levels haven’t dropped.
“Certainly as a coaching group we’ve been driving that and it’s good to see it come out (at training).”