Teia Miles (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Strengths: Contested ball, clearances, courage
Areas for improvement: Offensive game, kicking penetration
Player comparison: Luke Ball
Teia Miles is your typical inside midfielder who fearlessly throws himself at every contest and is great at finding ways to clear the ball from the stoppages. While he has some clear deficiencies, he is a modern-day inside midfielder who could thrive at any club.
Playing for the Geelong Falcons, Miles works well with other midfielders in Joe Maishman and Nick Dixon who are all different yet use their traits to form a formidable group in the centre. Miles is the Luke Ball-type inside midfielder who buries himself under the packs and pumps out the handball to his teammates waiting on the outside. One advantage Miles has over Ball is pace. This isn’t to say he is overly quick, but he can move from packs more fluently than Ball, or more accurately, like Ball with fully functioning hamstrings.
Miles doesn’t have a penetrating kick, but he doesn’t particularly need one. He is that 20 metre short kick just to clear the immediate danger zone or primarily a sideways handball to a running teammate with penetration or classier foot skills. One improvement he has made this season thus far is his tendency to kick over handball. Whether this is because of more space or improving his decision making skills, Miles has registered more kicks than handballs in every game this season.
Another improvement he’s made this year is when going forward, he has managed to kick five goals from his seven games, something he failed to do in his 15 games as a bottom-ager last year. These small improvements make him a more attractive prospect for recruiters because it’s illustrating the fact he can have an offensive side with some hurt factor.
An underrated skill that Miles possesses is his football smarts. In the match at Queen Elizabeth Oval against the Gippsland Power, the game was in the balance. Gippsland were narrowly up and in their forward half. Miles was outnumbered three-to-one in a contest but dived forward to punch the ball about 15 metres clear as he was gang tackled, allowing a teammate up the field to be free and this piece of play led to a Rhys Mathieson goal. Now while Mathieson might get the reward on the scoresheet, Miles’ selfless act will be remembered by his teammates.
Only moments after that at the next two centre bounces, Miles racked up two clearances which both led to goals which started the run that saw the Falcons run over the Power in the last ten minutes to win by six goals. Without knowing him personally, Miles seems like the kind of guy who would hold down a leadership position from a young age at a football club. He is a no-fuss footballer who just gets the job done.
Photo courtesy of Geelong Falcons: Teia Miles competing in a preseason agility test
While Teia Miles doesn’t have the freakish skills or unbelievable athleticism that other draftees have, he does have that critical inside quality and footy smarts that should see him drafted. Unfortunately inside midfielders are drifting lower down the draft order unless they have that extra outside hurt factor. Miles has already shown plenty of improvement and if he can continue to develop his offensive game, then he should be picked up early-t0-middle of the draft.