Ben Miller made a decent fist of his long-awaited AFL debut with Richmond in last Saturday’s final home-and-away round match against Hawthorn at the MCG.

The athletic tall defender’s key statistics were fairly modest – six disposals, two marks and four intercepts. But he also had a game-high eight one-percenters, which highlighted the unsung, valuable role he played in the Tigers’ backline.

After spending four years on Richmond’s playing list without a senior appearance, that performance in the last round of the 2021 season should hold him in good stead moving forward.

03:59 Mins
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Miller jumper presentation

Neil Balme and Dylan Grimes present Ben Miller with his guernsey ahead of his AFL debut against Hawthorn.

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Triple Tiger premiership star defender Dylan Grimes provided an interesting insight into Miller’s AFL journey when presenting him with the No. 46 Richmond guernsey in the rooms before last Saturday’s clash with the Hawks.

“Over the last four years you’ve been here we’ve grown so close,” Grimes said.

“I’ve seen so much hard work and real heart and genuine care go into your career.

“Up until this point it’s been really frustrating for you not being able to play.

01:37 Mins
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Miller set to debut

Ben Miller will make his AFL debut in the Round 23 match against Hawthorn.

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“We’ve spoken about it so many times, what you need to do to get better and how you’re going to work hard on those things that you need to work hard on. And you’ve done absolutely every one of those things.

“For me, here today, it’s a huge honour, but I’m also absolutely filled with pride, mate, to see the man that you’ve become over four years . . .

“I think the whole footy club is smiling a big smile now seeing you get a game. No one deserves this more than you.

“I’m just incredibly proud of you, mate.”