MILLER’S MISSION: Bucc’s new coach has big ambitions
RUGBY: The Yamba Buccaneers welcome a familiar face as their new first grade coach for 2020 with Adrian Miller returning to lead the charge.
Miller knows the club inside out but he didn’t recognise the side that fell apart late last year and has made it his mission to erase those bad memories moving forward.
“There’s no sugar coating it. The finish last year was abysmal. We went undefeated all year and then lost our last three games to not even make the grand final. That was a massive wasted opportunity for us,” Miller said.
“Everyone at the club was pretty disappointed so hopefully there’s been a lot of soul searching over Christmas and a lot of the boys who are still around are keen to give it a good go this year.
“We want to right that wrong. It was our own fault so we need to start fresh. I’m hoping we can play like we did for the first four or five months last year and put our best foot forward right from the get-go.”
Miller has been involved with the club on and off for 15 years and is looking forward to getting stuck in again this year.
“I first played with them back in 2005 and then again when I moved back to town at the end of 2016,” Miller said.
“I was the coach back in 2017 and was president of the club in 2018 before having half the year off last year. I’m keen to get back into it again.
“I’m very excited to take on the role for various reasons. People weren’t able to do it this year so I put my hand up to have another crack. Overall, the club had a pretty successful season last year and we’ve been great the last couple so I’m hoping to continue that.”
There is an air of uncertainty over Miller’s squad heading into the season but he knows there will be a number of changes to last year’s side.
“There’s definitely a few guys gone this year so I’m not sure we’ll be as strong as we were in 2019. There are also a few that are still up in the air on how much longer they’ll be around,” he said.
“That being said, there’s a few that have contacted us so we’ll definitely have a some new faces at the club and some guys that have played for us previously might be coming back.
“It’s still a bit of an unknown at this stage but that’s standard for rugby this time of year. It’s not uncommon that we don’t know who’s going to be in the squad and how the squad will fare until a few weeks into the season.”
Despite the uncertainty, Miller is still confident the Buccaneers will challenge at the top once again.
“We’ll deal with that as it comes but I still think, no matter who we’ve got, we’ll give the competition a pretty good shake,” he said.
As the squad slowly comes together, Miller is eyeing a strong pre-season to get his side fighting fit for round one.
“We’ll start training this week. The first session will be on Tuesday (today) at Turners Beach and then Thursday will be at the Yamba Oval. We’ll run those sessions until the season starts,” he said.
Miller will also look to boost the women’s and junior squads with a pre-season tournament on home turf.
“We’ve already got a couple of a trial games locked in. We’ll play Inverell and the Celtic Highlanders down here on March 21 for a round-robin tournament,” he said.
“We did the same a couple of years ago but this time we’ll have the Inverell women’s team come out to play our Bucannettes as well as some junior games too.”