When Grian Miers kicks Geelong’s winning goal in Saturday’s grand final, Sydney will be doubly upset that his unique kicking style is modeled after their excellent Lance Franklin.
“It came from actually copying ‘Buddy’ when I was a kid because I could kick farther and get extra distance with my legs when I was a little tackler,” Miers said. “Then it just morphed into what it is today. I’ve been working on a few things so it’s a little more accurate than it was before, and [now] it’s my own business, I guess.”
There is more to Miers’ football than his magnificent kicking. His relentless end-to-end running is one of several ways Cote has improved this year, so almost the team of the last two years are favorites to win this year’s overdue premiership.
But Miers and his hitting will continue to draw commentary as long as he plays. It’s like his Christian name, which you don’t see every day.
“That kick turns your head pretty fast. That’s the first reaction from most people, including teammates,” said Dan O’Keefe, who coached him for two years with the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup. “At TAC Cup level he was still quite effective. And he was very annoying around the heads.
O’Keefe decided there was no time or reason to retrain his kicks. “We thought he had certain attributes, particularly his running ability, that were a real fit,” he said. “So we focused on them. We felt that if we tried to fix his kicking, it would mean taking two steps back to take one step forward. We didn’t have that time.”
Just to be on the safe side, O’Keefe asked Nathan Murray to watch his kicking. Colac-based Murray won the Sunkick in 1987 while playing for Geelong’s under-19 side and continued to impress with his kicks in a distinguished country career. “I guess that was my weapon,” he said. “I just loved the art of kicking.”
Murray was not tempted to redo Miers’ actions. “Players like Grian have been doing it since they were knee-deep in horseshoes,” he said. “You can tinker a bit with their technique, but you can’t change their style. It’s a bit like ‘Buddy’: he does what he does.