By Natalee Kerr
For Geelong’s Gryan Miers becoming the latest AFL Rising Star nominee after eight games is a “good little reward for effort”.
“I’m definitely happy to be named Rising Star… but it’s definitely not something I was really striving towards,” the 20-year-old said.
The small forward is the second Cat to earn a nomination this year following his solid 22-disposal performance in Geelong’s 24-point win against North Melbourne last Sunday.
The No.57 pick from the 2017 AFL Draft spent all of 2018 in the VFL, which he said he used to his “advantage”.
“I wasn’t in a rush to play AFL,” he said.
“I knew I wanted a long career. I didn’t need to rush into the system and play 10 games, be happy and then get kicked out.
“I just tried to make sure that when I got my chance I’d make the most of it.”
Miers has made a smooth transition into AFL, averaging 17 possessions a game since debuting in round one.
He said a conversation with superstar teammate Gary Ablett last year “helped” his explosive start to his AFL career.
“I was struggling in the VFL trying to get away from my opponent,” he said.
“(Gary) ran me through body positioning and how to get the ball around the ground.
“He’s an awesome person to copy and watch.”
The former Grovedale Tigers player also credits his form to his experience playing in the GFL as a 16-year-old.
“I definitely used that as a stepping stone to make it to this level,” he said.
Miers has played every game so far this season, which he said he had “hoped” for but didn’t expect.
“I’m feeling fine to play each week as long as I’m not sore or injured,” he said.
“Unless they touch me on the shoulder and say, ‘how you feeling?’ I’ll just keep training and doing my thing.”
Donning the famous 32 of Gary Hocking, and more recently Steven Motlop, Miers said it was “exciting” to see kids wearing his number on their back.
“I always think they’re Steven Motlop’s old jumpers,” he said.
“But when people say that it’s for me it’s humbling.”
The ball-winner joked that his signature hairdo was here to stay for now but “not for the future”.
“After I saw that Brian Taylor mixed dreadlock photo, I don’t really want to be an old person with dreadlocks,” he laughed.
Miers also addressed the talk surrounding his “unusual” name which he said was inspired by a board game.
“Apparently there was a scrabble board involved and they (my parents) saw Ryan and thought that was okay, put a G in front of it and they went with it and now I’m stuck with this,” he said.