Some players are great to watch because of their immense physical superiority; they are capable of running faster and longer and with greater agility than the mere mortals around them. Others mesmerise with sublime skills and freakish ability, dazzling with ball in hand or on boot. I like watching Tiger Anthony Miles because he’s an animal.
He is a ball magnet who loves it in close where it is toughest; in amongst the action. His is an interesting story, that of an unfashionable footballer from the country town of Howlong half an hour out of Albury on the Murray River. A young man who had his chance at the GWS Giants for two years only to be delisted after just ten games. He was then unable to find a suitor in the trade market and, to rub salt into the wound, was then overlooked in both the National and Pre-season Drafts.
Finally taken by Richmond with pick 27 in the 2014 Rookie Draft after every club had had several opportunities to take him, Miles made an immediate impact on the Tiger faithful in the pre-season competition. His ability to read the ball around the packs, as well as instinctively attack it when it was there to be won shone through to those weekend watchers removed from the AFL sphere. To those in the inner circles of the Richmond ranks, however, he was less impressive.
Miles was not upgraded to the senior list for the start of the season, with that honour going to experienced duo Matt Thomas and Orren Stephenson. Thomas was the strong midfield body that effectively beat Miles to a spot on the list. Undeterred, he attacked the VFL with force and was regularly listed as being the Tigers’ best player, seemingly collecting more than 30 possessions each week.