Milne on job for country
IT IS often said that the only true path to success is hard work but for Ipswich cricketer Paul Milne the path has been more about working smart than hard.
The Eastern Taipans all-rounder is back in the country representative scene after two years battling injury and a crippling work schedule.
Milne is enjoying his best form in the past five years and said his success had stemmed from a change in priorities, both at home and at work.
"For the last few years I was working for myself and took a lot on work-wise," he said.
"Running my own business I was always chasing work or chasing money.
"It was just too hard and at the end of the day I just didn't need all that stress.
The sheet-metal worker decided enough was enough so he packed in his business and re-entered the workforce as an employee.
"Being back on wages is a lot less stressful," he said.
"I get to go to work, do my job and then go home.
"I'm really enjoying life a bit more now."
The job change isn't the only big change in the 29-year-old's life.
The arrival of his baby son Cooper six months ago has given Milne another reason to smile.
"I just had a little boy and that has really given me a new lease on life," Milne said.
"Being a dad is a challenge in itself but it's definitely a more enjoyable one."
So with a regular job giving him more time at home with his family, Milne is enjoying resurgence on the field as well.
His good early season form with the bat has won him a place in the Southeast Queensland side for this weekend's Schaeffer Shield tournament and further representative honours now beckon.
It's a great result for the Brookwater resident who has also battled debilitating injuries over the past few years including two full knee reconstructions.
"It's good to be back playing this level of cricket, after all, we all play so we can play at the highest level possible," he said. "Because of the injuries I've had I wasn't really getting the results I wanted.
"This year the knee seems to be okay and it has made it a bit easier for me to enjoy my cricket.
"This year is the best I've hit a ball for four or five years."
With Ben O'Connell on duty in the Queensland T20 Challenge, Milne was called on to captain the Ipswich Pioneers in last weekend's Webb Shield clash with the Gold Coast.
Despite failing to fire with the bat he said he enjoyed the opportunity to lead a young and exciting band of Ipswich cricketers.
"It's good to be back involved with Ipswich cricket, there are some really good cricketers here," he said. "Hopefully a few of us can go on a few steps forward and make the South Queensland side."
Milne hoped he could use his experience to help the younger talent develop their game.
"I had guys like Jezza (Ipswich coach Craig Jesberg) captaining me at Redbank for eight years," he said. "The way Jezza used to lead us was all about getting the best out of the young guys.
"That's what I try to do as well but it will be great to have Benny O'Connell back this weekend."
Milne hopes to get a chance to show his wares this weekend with both bat and ball.
"My personal goal is obviously to make the South Queensland side which I haven't done in six years."
If Milne manages to achieve his representative dream this weekend, the roundabout of injuries, work stress and poor form will be forgotten and young Cooper will have one more reason to look up to his doting dad.