Lachie Miller enjoyed a dream NRL debut, scoring a wonderful solo try as Cronulla defeated the Titans 25-18 at a rain-soaked Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
The 27-year-old represented Australia in rugby sevens at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last year and could hardly have scripted his arrival on the NRL stage any better.
With the Sharks leading 18-6 halfway through the second half, Gold Coast fullback Jayden Campbell put UP a bomb which landed on Cronulla’s 20-metre line.
Lachie Miller marked his NRL debut in style with a wonderful try as the Sharks beat Gold Coast 25-18 on Sunday night to climb up to fourth on the ladder
Miller narrowly beat Titans halfback Toby Sexton to the bounce, securing the ball before running the the length of the field to score his first NRL try as the Sharks extended their lead to 18 points following Nicho Hynes’ conversion.
Miller, who made his debut as fullback on Sunday, played rugby league from the age of nine until he was 22 but was never picked up by any NRL teams and eventually switched codes five years ago.
Australia were eliminated in the quarter-finals by eventual Olympic champions Fiji, before Miller completed his return to rugby league and had things panned out differently he could’ve been playing for the Titans on Sunday.
The former Olympian ran the length of the field after pouncing on a loose ball to score
The Sharks fullback was mobbed by teammates as he celebrated his first NRL try
‘The Titans actually reached out to my manager before the Sharks did last year,’ he told the Daily Telegraph this week.
‘They said they would send a contract offer through, but we waited for a while and nothing came. Then [Cronulla coach] Craig Fitzgibbon gave me a call soon after and he gave me the confidence that I could make the switch back to league.’
Miller also admitted making his NRL debut may be better representing his country at the Olympics.
‘It [playing at the Olympics] is something that I will never forget,’ he added.
Nicho Hynes was instrumental for the Sharks, scoring a try and setting up another
The Cronulla halfback also kicked a field goal (above) that proved crucial for his side
‘But to hear the news from Fitzy [Craig Fitzgibbon] this one might surpass it. It was pretty exciting when he told me, I was just so happy.’
Miller ran for 201 metres, made 10 tackle busts on his debut as the Sharks moved to 7-4 for the season and his stunning solo try capped a three-try burst at the start of the second-half where the visitors took control of a game that had been locked at six-apiece at halftime following tries from Gold Coast forward Jarrod Wallace and Sharks’ centre Connor Tracey.
Hynes was central to the match-winning spell, finishing off a break by Ronaldo Mulitano in the 43rd minute to put his team ahead before firing a wonderful pass in the 51st minute for Mulitano to dive over.
Miller’s break came minutes later and it was a relief for the Sharks’ No.1 after he’d earlier nearly been embarrassed when a Campbell bomb eluded him, ricocheted off the crossbar and Sam McIntyre thought he’d scored for the Titans.
Jarrod Wallace scored twice for the Titans but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat
The bunker however denied the bizarre try with replays showing Esan Masters had deflected the ball onto the woodwork before finding McIntyre’s grasp.
A smart gather by Wallace from Toby Sexton’s grubber with nine minutes to play allowed the Titans’ prop to score his second try of the night and gave the hosts’ hope.
Wallace and Sione Katoa then got into a scrap after the Titans’ forward took exception to the Cronulla winger’s treatment of AJ Brimson.
From the resulting penalty against the Sharks, Masters scored to give the Titans hope of an unlikely comeback before Hynes’ ice-cool field goal conversion sealed the points.