With a football in his hands since the time he started walking, Captain David Mirra, at the age of 24, will be playing his 100th senior game for the VFL this Saturday.
“It’s a proud moment for me and it’s been a long journey with a lot of sacrifice just to play at this level so it is a very important game for me.”
“As soon as I could walk dad was encouraging me to play. He is still involved with footy so it’s actually pretty hard to keep him away. Playing with my brother when we were younger also had a big influence on me.”
Mirra began his football journey at St Simons Football Club before being selected by the Eastern Ranges under 18’s squad. It is here where Mirra’s football really took the next step playing 16 games for the year and averaging 20 disposals per game, Mirra had a standout year grasping the attention of the Box Hill Hawks.
Moving to the Hawks in 2010, Mirra debuted for the Seniors in Round 4 against North Ballarat as the 23rd man becoming a regular in the Seniors squad the following year.
Appointed Captain in 2014, Mirra leveraged certain elements of leadership from previous skippers, helping shape him to the admired leader he has become today.
“Steven Kenna was my first captain at Box Hill and he set the standard for the group and I grabbed that from him. I said to myself that I want to be the one to set the standard for the group.”
“Beau Muston and Daniel Pratt were very different captains. Muston was resilient and Pratt was all about unity. I took bits and pieces from all of these guys and so that’s what I try to bring to my game.”
In his third year as captain, Mirra is only the fourth player to have captained Box Hill on more than 50 occasions turning to experienced coaching staff for mentoring.
“David Banfield plays an important role in continually developing my leadership and along with Marco Bello, is a big mentor for me. Within the playing group its Sam Iles, Marc Lock and Tom Gordon who I can bounce ideas off which I really value.”
Becoming the 29th VFL player to achieve 100 games, Mirra has received plenty of congratulations on the outstanding achievement causing him to reflect on his career thus far.
“I’ve had messages from guys that are no longer at Box Hill and it makes me think about all the good times I’ve had at the club. Winning the premiership in 2013 is the stand out but it’s more about the feeling every game. Just putting on the brown and gold, walking out onto the field and giving it 100% every time… that’s the feeling I remember the most.”
Despite this weekend’s clash against the Casey Scorpions being a momentous milestone for Mirra, he has also highlighted it as a significant game for everyone involved, praising the hard work of the boys.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. The group is incredibly resilient and strong. It’s a well driven group and we’ve got some outstanding players and leaders who drive the culture and standards that we have at Box Hill today.”
“It’s an important game for our season because if we drop this one we fall back in the pack, but if we come out on top we’re still in the top four. It’s an eight-point game as they say.”
“The game does have a bit more significance for me. It’s taken me seven years to be able to get here even with playing a full year of development footy. I’ve always wanted to play 100 games since I saw Sam Gibson play his. It’s a special moment for me.”
Looking back on an exceptional football career, Mirra has one piece of advice for the younger players of Box Hill.
“Be completely honest with yourself and take ownership of yourself.”
With special significance attached to the weekend’s game, Mirra will however still find time for one superstition that is key to his preparation.
“Doesn’t matter how early it is, I’ll always get subway before a game and I like to get to the ground pretty early.”
However, it is not his pre-game rituals that have more than a few players at Box Hill raising their eyebrows.
“After a good win, One Dance by Drake will always make an appearance. It’s my go to dance move when I’m with the boys so they love it when I get the hips moving and shaking.”
This weekend’s game is one we sure hope Mirra will be pumping his favourite song post-match. The boys take on the Casey Scorpions at Casey Fields for their first night match of the season commencing at 7.00pm.
Be sure to head down to the game tomorrow to show your support for Mirra’s outstanding achievement and don’t forget to #Mirra100.
Congratulations on your 100th Miz!
Photo credit: Jenny Owens Photography