Scorpion spotlight: Stephen Mills

By Beth Newman

Every time Stephen Mills runs out to play, he writes these eight words on his wrist:

“Be yourself, be your best, be the best.”

And the determined 18 year-old is doing everything he can to live out his motto.

After a promising junior cricket career, Mills started playing footy for the Rockhampton Panthers at 13, but it wasn’t until he was in the mix for state under-16 selection that he took AFL more seriously.

Mills moved to the Gold Coast from Rockhampton in December to go to university and pursue top flight footy, joining the Southport Sharks.

Mills hasn’t donned a Sharks jumper, but has been turning out for the SUNS reserves side, including playing a curtain raiser on the SCG against the Swans reserves.

“That was a pretty big occasion,” he says.

“It made me want to work harder (to reach the top level).”

Mills took up footy in year eight, after a promising junior cricket career.

Between football training and studying Exercise Science at Griffith University, it’s hard for Mills to fit in much time out, but he says he doesn’t mind sacrificing things to pursue football.

“This is my year, draft-wise, so I  may as well put everything into it,” he says.

“Contacting a lot of coaches and medical people to improve myself and get my diet right and get training right.”

In a bid to improve in any way he can, Mills does 10 minutes of core work each morning and night.

And he says the little things are paying off.

“I’m feeling stronger through my body through abs from core work and feeling a bit fresher when I’m coming into games,” he says.

Mills was a member of the victorious Under-16 Scorpions in 2011, playing as centre half-forward and kicked the final goal in the championship decider against Tasmania, but has moved into more of a defensive role this season.

“I was centre half-forward for the under-16 team and started there this season, but I’ve played pretty much every position.”

Having played at both ends of the ground, Mills says he tries to model his game on forwards Jack Riewoldt and Drew Petrie and defenders Ted Richards and Matthew Warnock.

Mills is still a small town kid at heart, saying if he got the chance he would love to be drafted by Fremantle.

“I love Perth and I don’t actually go for Fremantle but the lifestyle would be pretty good,” he says.

“It’s like the Gold Coast but without the big city side of it.”

Mills isn’t a great footy spectator. He gets out to SUNS games when he can, but his passion really lies on the field.

As for this season, he says he simply wants to get the best out of himself, and create the best chance for getting picked up.

“If I get picked it would be a good experience,” he says.

“My goal for the last two years has been to make the Queensland side and I’ve been working hard and hopefully it pays off.

“The challenge is to improve myself as a player.

“I’m trying to go as far as I can and better myself. There’s no point being average.”

Since moving to the Gold Coast, Mills says he does miss the slower-paced Rocky life and still makes sure to try and get some relaxation time in every week.

“It’s not as daunting as I thought it would be,” he says.

“I thought I might it not fit in football wise down here but it’s been a good move, football wise and educationally.

“I miss the animals and all that and the fresh air.

“I try and go down the park every week just to chill out and get away from the city for a bit.”

 The Scorpions play their first game of the season on Saturday against the Calder Cannons at 10:30am at Yeronga.

Our Supporters