MILES BERGMAN came close to making his AFL debut in his first year in the system but did not quite get there.
Named an emergency at least seven times, Bergman dreamt that he would get his chance in a year where he had no SANFL form to prove he was ready.
The 19-year-old maintained his positivity and his season has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension, tying him to the club until the end of 2023.
“I’m very grateful for that. Port Adelaide drafted me and I’m very thankful for that, and I just can’t wait to get cracking next year,” Bergman told portadelaidefc.com.au of his contract extension.
“(Being named an emergency so often) gives me the confidence to believe I am good enough being that close.
“It would have been good to get a debut game but I have a belief in (the coaches). They obviously didn’t think I was quite ready so hopefully next year I can get to that potential.”
Bergman was claimed with Port’s first selection at the 2019 AFL National Draft at pick 14 from the Sandringham Dragons.
The powerful and athletic utility spent most of 2020 playing off half back, but has also shown an ability to move onto the wing or to half forward.
An ankle injury limited him early in the season but once he got his body right, he was one of the better performers in the club’s match simulation sessions.
“It was definitely a very strange year for everyone but especially us first year boys but I thought we dealt with it pretty well as a club and I was really positive throughout the experience,” he said of his season.
“It’s been a great experience so far and it’s good to build that persistence and get through this year.
“Now I’ll get ready for next year and hopefully have another good crack.”
Some travel and some time back at home in Victoria with his family will occupy Bergman during his break, having left South Australia just in time to avoid the six-day hard lockdown, but he has started his fitness program ahead of pre-season training next month.
His signing coincides with the re-signing of fellow 2019 draftees Mitch Georgiades and Dylan Williams, also until the end of 2023.
It’s a big show of faith from three players who moved to the club from interstate and Bergman is excited about the group sticking together.
“I think Port Adelaide’s future is really bright,” he said.
“We’ve got so much young talent and the older boys are great as well, they’re great leaders.
“We get on really well together as a team and I feel like for many years to come we’ll be pretty strong and really competitive.”