Touk Miller’s journey started with red-hot coffees at the MCG, now it’s his sizzling form that is turning heads of pundits everywhere.
The 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season has been a breakout year for the Gold Coast SUNS star.
However, it was his job as a barista at the ‘G, where he first got a taste for the big stage.
“I worked at coffee mall, I worked on the carts, in the ‘G making coffees,” Miller said.
“I remember my first day was Boxing Day.
“There was about 150 people lining up and I was on the cash register, it was real pressure.”
In 2021 Miller has reached new heights, averaging 31.6 disposals.
Coming into this year his career average was 22.1 touches.
In the seven wins for the SUNS so far this season, Miller has averaged 34.7 disposals demonstrating his influence on a rising SUNS midfield.
Speaking to Garry Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN Breakfast, Miller spoke about the maturity of the group and how they are continuing to grow collectively.
“I think the maturity of the group helps me, as do the challenges I have been set this year from a leadership point of view,” Miller said.
“It has given me a lot of confidence to play at a good standard and try to lead the way.
“I think the group that I’m playing with is lifting as a team and I’m a beneficiary of that, so it is helping quite a lot.”
One of Miller’s best assets is his gut-running and ability to get from one end of the ground to the other consistently fast.
Having several strong pre-seasons is what Miller has used to achieve his ability to run opponents off their feet, despite not being the fittest at the club according to the man himself.
“I have put together seven pre-seasons now to get to where I am, fitness-wise,” Miller said.
“It is probably something I have always naturally had, in terms of being somewhat fit.
“A lot of hard work and dedication over the last seven to ten years has got me to this point.
“I think it is something that I pride myself on, work-rate, it is something that doesn’t take any talent it is just a matter of effort, so I just pride myself on that.
“There are some fit boys ahead of me though, Brandon Ellis and Josh Corbett would take the chocolates, those boys are very fit.”
As vice-captain and, at one point, stand-in captain this year, Miller has been integral cog in driving a young SUNS outfit to compete with the best in the competition.
Last weekend’s resounding win over finals hopefuls Carlton demonstrated Miller and the SUNS’ ability to respond despite a sub-par performance the week before.
“We responded on the weekend, from the weekend before and now it is a matter of how can we back that up and produce four quarters of football,” Miller said.
“We want to be a team that is consistently in the top four, in many years to come and to do that you have to back up games and back up wins.
“So, I think it is important we show a bit of maturity this week and play a consistent brand for another win.”
After scrutiny in the wake of the loss to Melbourne, Miller said the group spoke about consistency leading into the Carlton fixture.
“I don’t think it (the review) was as brutal, externally, as people would have thought,” Miller said.
“It is about for us being consistent, it wasn’t one particular thing.
“It was just that we had to stay consistent, in trying to be hard to play against and play a consistent brand of football and we focussed on that during the week.
“We didn’t go away from what we have been trying to do for the last two to three months and I think it gave us a result we needed on the weekend.”
The SUNS will look to build on last week’s performance against Essendon this weekend.