When the Saints discovered Barclay Miller

Barclay Miller was first sighted during a regional basketball tournament on the south island of New Zealand. Little did he know, nestled in the stands was the astute mind of John Beveridge; a man who has spent more than three decades identifying the next generation and who has played a major role in stockpiling talent at St Kilda.


In March 2015, the New Zealand teenager became the Saints third international rookie and fourth in St Kilda’s history, joining another Kiwi, Joe Baker-Thomas and American ruckman, Jason Holmes, at Linen House Centre.

Charged with the task of discovering an elite candidate who could excel in a foreign sport in a distant land is far from an easy task. But Beveridge knows the tools that can be utilised in football. And, in Miller, the veteran recruiter was attracted by the athletic tall’s leap, balance and ability to make time stand still, amid carnage.

“I saw him play basketball in 2014, in the New Zealand under-17 basketball championships, playing for the Canterbury region. He was pretty impressive,” Beveridge told saints.com.au.

“And when you go and watch boys play basketball, bearing in mind that he’d never played football before, he just looked like he had good ball control, he looked like he was going to be tallish but not too tall.

“He had nice balance, controlled the ball on both sides really well, he leapt well, shot well and looked like he might be a lad that might be able to cross-over.

“He’s quite quick for his size, he certainly can jump. If you’re looking to find a player or a lad from another sport, you’ve got to look for some relatively elite athleticism.

“Subsequently, with family communication, they were quite interested in having a look at the AFL scene. Following that, Barclay and his family decided to give it a crack.”

At 195cm and 86kg, Miller looms as key-position prospect, and has the athletic gifts to play at either end of the ground.

But at least to begin with, the Christchurch product will start in defence, where St Kilda Recruiting and List Manager, Tony Elshaug, believes he can best learn the nuances of the game and broaden his football IQ.

“He will probably develop into a key defensive player – that’s the best starting point. Somewhere where he can play on someone who already knows the game, that can take him to the ball and he competes and has the athleticism and the size, which is a good starting point,” Elshaug said.

“He’s tall enough. He can play key position. But to learn the game, where to lead, when to lead, playing forward is a lot harder, from that perspective. So he’ll start down back.”


Story – saints.com.au