TERRY Milera has been the most recent success story of a Far West footballer making it into the AFL.
Already AFL bound when he was picked up by Greater Western Sydney from Port Adelaide in the SANFL, a trade deal saw him go to St Kilda, where he has made an impact in the forward line.
Terry said he looked forward to starting his AFL career at the club.
“It was a done deal, my manager told about the offer and I accepted, St Kilda is a good club and I looked forward to the opportunity,” he said.
Milera’s football career started in the Far West Football League, playing junior and senior football with Koonibba.
Terry said he remembers fondly going out and having a kick with his family and friends at the club.
“I remember playing with my mates and my cousins, having fun while going out and having a kick with them,” he said.
Milera would then go down to Adelaide to play for the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL.
But the move was a difficult one for him and was soon feeling homesick.
Milera said both moving to Adelaide and to Melbourne was difficult, but he was determined to make the most of his opportunities.
“I came back to Ceduna for a little bit after my first move to Adelaide, but I thought I should make the most of this opportunity and so I returned to Adelaide,” he said.
“The move to Melbourne was even harder because I was leaving my family behind, but luckily my partner Rachel Wanganeen was able to make the move with me, living in Melbourne is interesting because everything moves at a faster pace than Adelaide.”
At St Kilda Terry Milera has found a spot within the forward line, where he has had the opportunity to learn off of experienced forward players Steven Milne, Adam Schneider and captain Nick Riewoldt.
Milera made his debut against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in Round One, and although the Saints lost by four points, Milera had a good game, ending up with 17 disposals, 10 kicks, six marks and kick one goal.
Milera said the game has been his favourite experience at the club so far.
“I was able to play my first game in Adelaide in front of my family, it was a very special experience,” he said.
Milera still speaks to his family regularly, communicating with family members in Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Ceduna.
Since Round One, Milera has played in 13 of St Kilda’s 15 games, resulting in 163 disposals and kicking 13 goals.
Milera was recruited as a mature recruit, playing his first game at the age of 24.
But Terry said if young footballers want it hard enough, they can still make it into the AFL, even if they aren’t selected at 18 or 19.
“I remember before I was playing in the AFL and I was seeing other people being selected as young recruits, I continued to hang in there and I knew if I worked hard enough I would eventually make it,” he said.
“If it’s your dream to play AFL football, follow it and give yourself every opportunity to fulfil it, only you can make it happen.”