Isaiah Miller (Bendigo Pioneers)
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Grant Birchall
Strengths: Skills, reading of the play, positioning
Weaknesses: Decision making under pressure, speed
Isaiah Miller is one of those players you want with the ball in their hands. He uses is so well, is polished and can hit up a target with fantastic precision. While the Bendigo Pioneers haven’t had the best of seasons, their one AIS member has continued to impress both at TAC Cup level and at the Under 18s Championships.
Miller isn’t someone you’re likely to play on a key defender given he isn’t of the build that could match a hulking forward for strength. Miller is more of a Josh Gibson type who drops into the hole, takes an important mark and then pinpoints a kick through the opposition’s zone. In may ways, Miller can be compared to Gibson’s teammate Grant Birchall who is also of a similar build and kicking efficiency. While neither player is overly contested, they don’t particularly need to when they have the deadly boots that they do.
In terms of medium defenders, Isaiah Miller will be battling with Launceston’s Kade Kolodjashnij for the first picked in the 2013 National Draft. Kolodjashnij can play a little taller and has more versatility while Miller is the better kick and can move a little better. As a recruiter it comes down to needs and what characteristics the team is looking for in a player.
Greater Western Sydney was the team that selected Isaiah Miller in the Bound for Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft at pick 20. After selecting Darcy Gardiner and Matt Scharenberg, the Giants have assembled a half back line that is going to lead them into the future, beaming with talent. All read the play exceptionally well and each have different strengths that would work well together on the one team.
One of the most important things to have in a half back flanker is elite disposal and Miller has that in spades. He was the man responsible for delivering the ball out of the defensive 50 and kicks ins for Vic Country this year. While at Bendigo, Miller was amongst a very young back line with most players still 16 and not eligible till next year which is why they have struggled at times against forwards such as Josh Scott who booted nine goals earlier in the year while Miller was still absent with AIS duties.
Isaiah Miller is a creative player whom while he doesn’t have the bigger body or contested ball winning ability that some players have, he can set up the play magnificently and bring others into the game with his disposal. He doesn’t find a lot of the football like a Scharenberg, but Miller’s hurt factor is also a lot higher.
One interesting fact will be whether Miller can handle a tag in the AFL. At TAC Cup level, players aren’t allowed to specifically tag others but as a few officials have mentioned before, players can sometimes need to rest at the same time as their opponent and change position by following their opponent as well. The reason he might struggle is the fact he can make poor decisions at times and make mistakes under pressure.
While he might struggle under pressure for the time being, Bendigo officials believe if he can develop into a wing man at AFL level, Miller can play a Bachar Houli type role through the half back and onto a wing. He doesn’t have the burning speed that other half backs can have and could struggle against the likes of Eddie Betts or Lindsay Thomas at AFL level.
If Miller can use his strengths at AFL level he can develop into a really dangerous player who can break zones with his kicking rather than his speed, and hurt players on the rebound. Miller could go anywhere from the first round to late second round depending on where the clubs might rate him. All in all, Miller has some good characteristics which will make him a very good prospect in a couple of years.