THERE will be a Port Macquarie flavour to Sunday’s State of Origin curtain-raiser at ANZ Stadium.
Shane Millard only played in four matches for Port City Breakers but he played a minor role in the club’s first premiership success in 2008.
Ten years on from Port City’s first premiership win, Millard will take the reins of the NSW Residents side in their clash with the Queensland Residents.
He hopes to make a good first impression as they seek to avenge a 30-point loss to Queensland in last year’s fixture.
It will be his first match in charge of the side and he is quietly confident of a strong showing.
“From the Residents side of things, a lot of the boys that have been picked have played some NRL or are on the way up,” he said.
“It’s a great experience having all these boys together and it’s the best of the best, it’s as simple as that really.”
The Millard name is synonymous around rugby league on the Mid North Coast with father, Dudley, a Breakers stalwart.
He is currently the vice-president of the reigning Group 3 premiers and has been involved in the running of both the junior and senior clubs since the early 90s.
Dad’s been running footy clubs – junior and senior – since I was four years old.Shane Millard
His son currently coaches the North Sydney Bears in the Intrust Super Premiership, where still keeps an eye on what’s happening in Port Macquarie.
“I speak to dad daily so he always keeps me in the loop with how they’re going,” he said.
“Dad’s been running footy clubs – junior and senior – since I was four years old.
“He’d never won a first-grade comp so to win it in 2008 with him running the joint and me having a game, it was a nice thing to be able to do that’s for sure.”
Millard played in 25 matches for the Wigan Warriors in 2007 before his cameo appearance with the Breakers at the end of the following season.
While it will be a progression for his coaching career, Millard has no intentions of staking a claim for a first-grade gig in the near future.
“I can certainly tell you I’ve got no ambition to be an NRL first grade coach,” he said.
I can certainly tell you I’ve got no ambition to be an NRL first grade coach.Shane Millard
“You couldn’t pay me enough money to go through what they’ve got to go through.”
Millard’s role as coach of North Sydney had seen him cast his eye over Breakers young gun Ezra Gibson.
He knows there is still work to do, but felt with a lot of hard work the teenager could progress to the top level over time.
“I’ve never liked to dump a heap of pressure on a kid,” he said.
“Being in the bush, he hasn’t really been in a good system other than a three-month period (with Norths) with a club that battles.
“But in the right system and all kids develop differently and at different speeds, what he has got is the attitude.
“The way they train these days you’ve got have that because if you don’t like training, you’re in trouble sunshine.”