After 23 years of coaching experience, Alistair Miller reckons he's finally found the most knowledge-hungry playing group he's seen.
The former Athletic Association of Great Public Schools and club coach in Sydney is taking the reins from Jeremy and Murray Reay in 2020 despite thinking his time as a coach was done.
He'd been around the club in 2019 after his wife Tanya pulled on the boots for the first time, and as the 38-year-old's love for playing the game grew, so did Miller's pull to Emus.
"I'd given up the idea of coaching," Miller said.
"My wife started playing and I came along to training and started supporting them and it was really exciting," he said.
"She had her first year on the wing and it was a big learning curve."
Tanya was looking to hang up the boots at the end of last season, but the duo made an agreement - she'd play on if he coached.
"I just never thought I'd get back into it again but they're such a good bunch of girls," he said.
"I love that they were so receptive and eager to learn and I've never had a group so eager to learn.
"Girls are just hungry for any advice."
Miller's had plenty of experience with rugby in Sydney, and said he didn't expect the Westfund Ferguson Cup to have anywhere near the talent it does.
"I was really impressed, I was blown away by the standard of footy. Ten-a-side is different, lends itself to lots of tries and running and is attractive to watch," he said.
"I mean I knew the 2016 Olympic (rugby sevens) success had had a really positive effect on girls rugby to make it viewed as a genuine pathway.
"I think it's going to be something which is really going to prop up rugby union in years to come."
Jacky Lyden, Em McDonald and Nikky D'Aquino were the three stand-out talents Miller noticed quicky after walking in, labelling McDonald the best kick he's ever seen on a rugby field.
He'll have Max Vowell alongside him in the coaching box to help out on days work keeps him away from the sideline but Miller said Murray and Jeremy Reay did a stellar job coaching the side last season, and was hoping the hunger for grand final success would take them one further in 2020.
"I'm a little biased but I think we had second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth best players on the ground in the grand final last year and it was Jakiya Whitfield who was the difference," he said.
"There's no reason we can't have a similarly successful year this year."
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