You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Tokyo Olympian Lachlan Miller had to jump through a few rings to live his childhood dream of playing in the NRL.

It was little surprise, then, to see the live-wire Australian rugby sevens representative make the most of his first-grade debut — helping Cronulla back into the top four with a determined win over the Titans on Sunday.

In front of his partner Ellie, 11-month-old son Billy, Mother Marie and 30 mates from Coffs Harbour, the 27-year-old scored a 70-metre try, made 10 tackle busts and ran for over 200 metres in an eye-catching performance at fullback.

“It was pretty special, hey. To be fair, the first eight months at this club have been some of the best of my sporting career so this really topped it off,’’ Miller said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play on some pretty big stages before and obviously the boys I had around me, all the experience helped out and really settled my nerves and I felt ready to go.

“I loved my time in rugby union but when I was young, it was a dream to play NRL. Since coming back here with this group of boys, you get that term thrown around, it’s like a family, but it really is.

Lachlan Miller celebrates his NRL debut at Cbus Super Stadium
Lachlan Miller celebrates his NRL debut at Cbus Super Stadium ©NRL Photos

“They got me to a position where I was ready to debut and I can’t thank them enough.’’

After playing junior rugby league in Coffs Harbour, Miller switched to local rivals Sawtell and bounced around a few teams before switching to rugby union.

He was two hours away from joining the LA Giltinis club in the US late last year before Cronulla swooped on Miller.

“I thought the dream was gone, I went to rugby union and here we are,” he said.

Lachlan Miller celebrates scoring a try on debut for the Sharks.
Lachlan Miller celebrates scoring a try on debut for the Sharks. ©NRL Photos

Will Kennedy will return from suspension next week when the Sharks take on the Roosters so Miller’s time in the spotlight may only be brief for the moment with a possible interchange role in the offing.

“The beauty of this team is that it’s next man up. If I go back to reserve grade, I don’t mind. An opportunity might pop up later in the year and I’ll play where I’m needed,’’ Miller said.

Miller said both of his calves cramped when he jumped on a loose ball in the 53rd minute and sprinted away from the Titans defence.

“It might have been the 30-odd people from Coffs Harbour that got me there in the end,’’ he said with a grin.

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon was confident that Miller would handle the occasion.

“The guy's played in the Olympics Sevens. The big stage is not an issue for him — he's a developed athlete. He's turned 27 now. He's got good power, good strength and good fitness and he's not scared of big moments,’’ Fitzgibbon said.

“He's electric on his feet. Obviously, it has not stopped raining the last couple of days since we've been here and I didn't know what the track would be like but it was thankfully firm underfoot so he could use his footwork. He's very elusive.

Sharks: Round 11


“He's a really good person, he's a really good guy, really good person, really popular and last night during the jersey presentation was a great night for our team.

“It would be a brave man not to pick Will [when he's available]. Lachie's obviously showed that he's capable of that and he does have utility value. So going forward, like now that you can see there's an NRL player there.’’

Magic Miller shines on debut

The Sharks moved to a 7-4 record with Nicho Hynes producing an outstanding individual display with a try, a try assist, four goals and a field goal in his return to halfback.

Siosifa Talakai left the field late in the game with an ankle injury but Fitzgibbon said the early indications were that it was not overly serious.

Titans centre Phillip Sami was also a late casualty with a knee injury and Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said he would be sidelined for a number of weeks.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.