<big>Jacob Miller is determined to shine in Hull FC spotlight after month-long wait to arrive</big>
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 By James Smailes
WAKING up to the sound of his mobile phone ringing, a sleepy Jacob Miller soon sprang to life.
Checking to see who was calling at such an early time, anticipation soon became ecstasy with the words he’d waited so long to hear uttered. His visa had arrived.
And with that Hull FC’s new scrum-half made his own untimely call, ringing coach Peter Gentle as his fellow Aussie was preparing for bed on the other side of the world.
“My auntie works at the post office and she called me first thing in the morning last Thursday,” explained Miller as he takes up the story.
"I saw the phone going off and thought ‘why is she calling me at this time?’ then it clicked it must be about my visa. I was smiling before I even answered the phone.
"I picked it up and got straight on the phone to Pete. I told him it was here and asked if I could come that day, but they got me a flight the next day.
“The visa came in the mail on Thursday, I left on Friday and I’m very happy and excited to be here.”
Miller’s excitement is contagious. Greeting the media for the first time, he’s only had 48 hours to settle in to his new surroundings and already he feels at home.
He describes the long wait between signing a two-and-a-half-year-deal at Hull last month and waiting for his visa to arrive as boring and anxious. Now he’s here he’s determined to make up for lost time.
Wearing shorts and flip flops to complement his sun-bleached blond hair, Miller has the soap opera looks. Looking like an extra from Home and Away, he knows all about that beach-side small-town life.
Brought up away from the big city, Miller grew up in Ocean Shores. “It’s the biggest little town in Australia,” he adds with pride. Living as far north as you can get without hitting Brisbane and becoming a Queenslander, the quiet life of the coastal town suited the softly spoken Miller.
“It’s one of those places where everybody knows everybody else,” he explains. "It’s not a small place, but then it’s not like a big city either. It was a great place to grow up, though, and it was always going to be rugby league for me when I was growing up.
“My family love the sport and we never played anything but rugby league, there was never a soccer ball and I never played rugby union.” Ocean Shores may not be on many people’s radar, but local junior side Mullumbimby Giants are.
One of the oldest sporting teams in Australia, Miller quickly rose to prominence for Mullumbimby, attracting the attention of Sydney Roosters.
Signed onto their scholarship scheme as a 14-year-old, two years later he would relocate down south to the bright lights of Sydney. Australian Schoolboys representation followed and then, at 18, he was lured away from the Roosters to Wests Tigers, where a bright future beckoned.
Handed his debut at 18, chances then became fewer, until at the end of last season a move to Hull began to seem a real possibility. “I was close to coming last season,” reveals Miller.
“I talked to the club about it, but the Tigers put a block on it and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I’m here now, though, and I couldn’t be happier.”
A month on from agreeing his deal, Miller is finally a Hull player and he’s doing a poor job of hiding his excitement.
Bringing the sort of youthful exuberance and enthusiasm you would expect from a 20-year-old, he’s eager to get started.
His first training session yesterday went better than expected given his long trip and unfamiliarity with his team-mates, but already he’s in contention to start on Friday at Castleford.
He may have had to wait to get in the country, but he’s certainly not wasted his time. “I’ve been training on my own, but it is not the same as that team environment. However, I knew I had to keep myself in good shape and that has pushed me to stay strong,” says Miller.
"Any games that were not shown on television in Australia, Peter Gentle was sending me DVDs. Pete sent me a play book too and I’ve been getting a general idea of the calls and the plays.
"It makes it so much easier coming here and knowing Pete as I do. From the moment I arrived, Pete and his wife, his whole family really, have made me feel so welcome and looked after me.
“They made me feel right at home from the moment I stepped off the plane. Pete knows my game and I know how Pete works, so that makes it a lot easier to settle in.”
With his girlfriend in tow and the Gentle household welcoming them into their family, Miller’s settling in process has been easy so far.
Now comes the difficult part. Finding his feet in a Hull side which has performed well without a recognised number seven all season.
“I need to get my match fitness back because I haven’t played for about a month,” he says. "Hull are going well at the moment and it would be harder coming into the team if they were not winning. It makes it easier coming into a side that is going so well.
“It’s been a good few days and now I cannot wait to get started.”
With a chance to kick-start a career which was being halted at Wests, Miller is relishing the opportunity offered by Hull.
And now he’s finally here, the young playmaker is determined to make his mark.
Hull FC qualified for the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in 4 weeks time with a come from behind, albeit scrappy win over Brett Hodgsons Warrington side last weekend, they face a huge task against the Wigan Warriors who blew Jamie Sowards’ side London Broncos away by 70-0.
While Hull did it hard getting over the top of the Wolves they certainly loosened the shackles on Friday night with an effortless win over the Widnes Vikings putting 70 points on the opposition, Peter Gentles side have given me as many disappointing games as have the Wests Tigers with upset ‘losses’ against lesser sides and it’s a hard blow for 2 former Tigers players who will likely miss the Challenge Cup final with old Favourite Ben Galea already ruled out but Shannon McDonnell is also in doubt, at Least Gareth Ellis is fit at last and then there’s Jacob Miller.
The player I really want to see be a winner at Wembley however is the last ever North Sydney Bear Mark O’Meley.