My first memory of meeting the Bergman family was in early 2008. I was attending an Auskick meeting at Ralph and Jo Bergman’s home. I must say I was nervous/excited, I had no real link to Hampton Rovers and was working with footballers at a senior level in the Eastern League at the time. It was the first time in many years that I have helped with Auskick and I was welcomed by Ralph who had an open, pleasant personality. I was captivated by him, a real leader, easy going, a physiotherapist by profession.
The early Rover days were fun, I look back with many great memories of those days. As a St Mary’s family it was easy to see the Bergman family front and centre at school social activities, Rover functions and Sandringham Athletics on a Saturday during summer.
Ralph and Jo have two sons, Blake & Miles. Both lads attended St Mary’s and St Bede’s College. Blake represented the seniors in 2019 and played finals in our U19 Premiership side.
I have always been aware of Miles as he was a stand out on the sports field, school sports, football, athletics – his prowess was there for all to see. Calm, thoughtful, humble, it came as no surprise to me that Miles in late November was drafted to Port Adelaide Football Club in the AFL. I recently caught up with Miles and asked him a few questions about early Rover life, his dad, what life is like as an AFL player.
Before we do that, though, I would also like to point out that Jo Bergman has for close to 3 decades been active as a volunteer Nurse in remote parts of Asia. In 2017 a new clinic in Papua New Guinea was opened in her name, I hope this gives you an understanding of the great family the Bergmans are!
Miles, what are your earliest memories of Hampton Rovers?
Being at Auskick and seeing my brother Blake playing ‘real’ footy and me saying to my dad (who was running the Auskick) that I wanted to start playing proper footy too. Then I started U9s a year early.
Your dad ran Auskick at Rovers & coached you, what was his most endearing feature as a coach and father?
My Dad was really good at building connections with all the players and making the team work together. I think for me as well being his son, he was a bit harsher on me but I liked that because it made me push myself.
You excelled on the aths track at Sandringham Little Athletics, 200m and 400m state finalist, Long Jump and Triple Jump Champion at State level, do you feel your track background has helped you in being drafted?
Yes, I believe athletics is a great sport to do in conjunction with footy and helped with my explosiveness and running ability for game day.
Which other coaches helped you along the way and who had a strong message that stuck with you?
The years I remember most would be when my Dad and Mil Hanna coached together in U15s and U16s. They taught me to play forward as I had only played mid and a little bit of back before.
To be best on ground for St Bede’s in its first ever Herald Shield Premiership & winning the Neal Daniher Medal must be special, what was the feeling like at school?
Great but I tried to direct the focus to the team effort and team success as that’s what it’s all about. I feel like it really brought the school culture up even more than it already was.
Were you aware you might go to Port Adelaide the night of the draft?
Draft night is very unpredictable and you never know what might happen with live trading and all that now available as well, however, I had a little bit of an idea I would go around the mark so Hawthorn (13), Port Adelaide (14) and if not then Western Bulldogs (15).
How has the first month been prior to Christmas?
So much fun, training has been very full on, but I’ve always loved the hard work so I’m really enjoying it.
Who are you living with?
I was with all the new boys for a week, then Karl Amon for a week then we went to camp. When I come back, I’m moving in with a host family and one of the other new draftees from WA.
Has Karl Amon (former Rover) helped you settle in?
As I said above, yes, he did as I moved in with him for a week. He cooks up some amazing meals too!
Can you offer a word of advice to all the girls and boys at Rovers that want to follow in your footsteps into the AFL?
I think the main thing is just to never give up, I’ve had many injuries along the way, but you need to stay positive and take it as a lesson.
Thanks Miles & Good luck with your journey, everyone at Rovers wishes you the very best.