Lachlan Miller has been playing Rugby League since he was about 10 years old and took up Rugby Union only a year ago. He must have some natural talent, because he’s recently been to Fiji to represent Australia in the Oceania Sevens!
Hi Lochy. How long have you lived locally, and what do you love most about the Coffs Coast?
Hello. I have lived locally for pretty much my entire life, apart from a couple of short stints away. There is not much to dislike about the Coffs Coast. The people are amazing, it has a lot to offer without being busy, but I would have to say the thing I love the most about the Coffs Coast would be the beaches.
How long have you been playing Rugby?
Throughout school I played a couple of games of Rugby Union, but it has only really been the past year that I have started to play Rugby; although, I have been playing Rugby League since around age 10.
What was it like going from Rugby League to Rugby?
Making the transition from Rugby League to Rugby Union is quite difficult. The general play in both codes if very similar, but Rugby has a lot more rules and is obviously very different around the ruck. I am still learning Rugby, but am enjoying the challenge it is presenting.
Where did your international journey start?
For me, my journey to play for Aus started when the coach gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in coming down for a couple of days and training with them, which was around August. From the training I played in the development team (Australia green) that played in the Central Coast 7s tournament, where we ended up winning the plate. After the final, the coach of my team for the tournament sat me down and just explained he was happy with how I went and asked if I had a current passport, to which I said yes, and he answered, “That’s good, because we are taking you to Fiji next week”.
You have recently been over to Fiji, where you played for Australia in the Oceania Sevens. How was that experience, and what was it like getting the call up to play for your country?
The whole experience surrounding the few weeks I was down in Sydney training was amazing enough. But, the trip to Fiji was something I will never forget. Fijians really love their Rugby, and it showed! Everywhere we went they would go out of their way to make everything as easy as possible. Obviously playing and getting a cap for Australia was the highlight of my trip, but also visiting schools and seeing the joy and passion that the Fijian kids have for Rugby and Australia in general was something I’ll always remember.
When the coach told me that they were taking me to Fiji, obviously I was in a bit of shock. I was happy enough to have the opportunity to play in their development team, let alone to have the opportunity to play a cap for my country. As a young kid playing sport and watching all the people you look up to play for Australia on TV, you aspire to make it to that same level, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would ever become a reality. I feel really privileged and honoured to have been able to pull on the Australian jersey and will never forget the experience.
What’s your training schedule like?
Whilst I was in Sydney training with the 7s, the training schedule was full on – but I really enjoyed it. We trained almost every day, and for the most part of the day as well. Since being back in Sawtell, I have kept up with my training. Most days consist of going to the gym and either playing Oztag or basketball in the afternoons, to keep my fitness up.
You also coach Sawtell’s first grade side. Can you tell us a little more about that?
So, Rod Hardy and I agreed to take on the job a little while back, and we’re both looking forward to the upcoming season. For me personally, coaching is a bit of a passion I have picked up, and it has improved my game a lot. I have had the privilege of coaching a young group of boys from under 14s through to under 18s this year. 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Sawtell; we have a lot of strong juniors and couple of key signings in the pipeline as well.
What’s the next goal?
As I was shown the past month, it all happens very quickly, so I am going to try and keep improving myself every day – and hopefully another opportunity like this one presents itself and I can take it with both hands.
When you are not on the field what are you doing with yourself?
If I’m not playing Rugby or Rugby League, I will either be playing some sort of sport – Oztag, basketball or surfing or just pestering my girlfriend, hanging out with friends and beating Josh Dowdy and Chris Watkins on the PS4.
What advice would you give others wanting to play Rugby?
Getting involved with Rugby as a junior hasn’t been easier. All the local clubs have really strong junior involvement in both League and Rugby. And for young players wanting to progress their footy, the Rugby development program around the Coffs Coast I have noticed is probably the strongest I have seen it. But the main thing is get involved early; go down to senior games and watch some of the older players play and ask plenty of questions.
How can more people get involved in playing or supporting Rugby on the Coffs Coast?
All the senior clubs around the Coffs Coast are always looking for new players, and we are lucky to have plenty of teams around. So if you’re thinking of playing, find a club and get down to training; it all starts back up again January/February. As for supporting, I don’t think we can ever have enough support; I believe a strong club is always shown by the support they have from their crowd and volunteers. No team would be able to survive without the supporters, so definitely reserve your Saturdays and Sundays for a good afternoon watching the footy!