Dons: Pennant and Cooke pay tribute to Miller

Dons' Carl Hall kisses coach Tony Miller after their side won the league. Picture: Andrew Roe
Dons' Carl Hall kisses coach Tony Miller after their side won the league. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sunday’s Championship game against Sheffield Eagles at the Keepmoat Stadium promises to be a day of mixed emotions for Dons boss Tony Miller, whatever the result.

For it will be the last time that Miller, who is stepping down at the end of the season, will be in charge of the team at the venue in a league match.

During his second spell in charge, Miller has steered the Dons from the lower depths of Championship One to the Championship play-offs this season.

Miller’s part in the club’s first-ever title success saw him named Championship One Coach of the Year in 2012.

“The club’s success isn’t just down to me,” he says.

“I’m just a small cog and I’ve had some great support from all my assistant coaches as well as the other backroom staff as well as the various club officials.”

Miller first joined the club, then based at Tattersfield, in 1990.

He played his part in helping them win promotion to the top flight, where he also acquitted himself well, in 1994.

Strong-running centre Audley Pennant remembers playing alongside Miller.

“Tony was a good back-rower who hit the ball well and ran hard,” he recalled.

“He worked hard and was very consistent.

“He wasn’t one to be shouting out and voicing his opinion in the dressing room, and you wouldn’t say that he was a leader out on the pitch.

“He wasn’t someone who stood out as a potential future coach because he was quiet.

“But if you come across properly, and know your stuff, you don’t necessarily have to shout at players to be successful, as Tony has proved.

“Despite being on a tight budget he’s brought some good players in and got them playing for him.”

Paul Cooke, the man who will replace Miller at the helm next season, said: “Regardless of how good he is as a coach, as a person he is a great bloke.

“For the club to get me back into the game at the start of last season they had to whet my appetite with an off-field role.

“But it also had to be the right fit with the coach and when I met Tony he was receptive.

“He’s learnt his trade and worked under some good coaches and picked up ideas from everybody and mixed them with his own.

“Tony has got the best out of the group of players he’s got and we all wanted to give him a good send-off in terms of results when he announced he would be stepping down.

“We’ve done that and hopefully there is more to come.”