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Broncos winger Corey Oates.

Corey Oates says his father-in-law Gene Miles has helped make him a better footballer, man and husband, and treasures their weekly ritual of going into the "man cave" at Miles' family home to talk footy and life.

Several years ago, when Oates first started dating his wife Tegan, he admits to being scared of the Maroons legend.

"It is a privilege to have Gene as my father-in-law but it was pretty scary when I first found out who he was," Oates told, with a wide grin.

"I didn't realise when I first started dating Tegan who her father was. Then I found out and I was like 'Holy Hell … I don't know if I can do that'. I was scared. He is a scary man.

"When we officially started dating she said 'Right, now we've got to tell my father'."

Oates got that out of the way long ago, and it went smoothly. Then, when he prepared to pop the "Will you marry me?" question to Tegan he did something Miles still looks back on with high regard.

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"Corey's part of my family now. When he asked me could he marry my daughter I was quite amazed he had asked my permission. I didn't think that happened anymore. I thought that was old school, so I respected that," Miles told

"I said 'Yes, you can marry my daughter but one thing you must do is protect her and look after her because as old as she is, or as old as she is going to be, she is still my little girl’.

"I think that resonated with him. He has been really good. He still has some rough edges, but it is a work in progress."

Oates' quest to fulfil his potential as a footballer is also a work in progress. Each week he turns to the no-longer scary Miles for feedback on his game.

"I go over to see Gene the week after a game and I always ask him 'What do I need to fix up?' and 'What aren't I doing right?’ because he obviously knows the answers to a lot of the questions that I ask," Oates said.

"I always take his feedback on board because of the respect I have for Gene and because of the great player he was.

"I don't know if he's realised it yet, but I really like the feedback I get from him. It's been a real positive for me.

Broncos winger Corey Oates.
Broncos winger Corey Oates. ©NRL Photos

"He has always said 'Never think that your job is done. Always be looking to find a job and be interested and active and do what you can'. He's always said the best thing you can do is look like you want the ball every time in every set.

"It honestly made me start doing a bit more probing around and jumping in. If there is a time where I feel the team isn't going anywhere I'll think of what he's said and just get the ball, take a hit-up and run as hard as I can."

Miles is not there to coach Oates. Their discussions are practical and almost a like a debrief.

"I don't drill down too deep with him. They come over for dinner once a week usually the night before the game, and I go with Corey into the cave at home…a movie room with a big screen and recliners," Miles said.

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"I sit in one and he sits in the other. I ask how his training has been, and usually he says that's been good…which is a positive sign. We might talk about the opposition and who he's coming up against, but I don't coach him. That's what Seibs [Anthony Seibold] is there for and he is doing a great job from all reports.

"I just tell him from my point view what I would have liked to see my wingers doing back in the day, and that's just the basic things like going in there and taking a dirty old hit-up when the forwards' backsides are dragging on the ground. I'll say that ball security is always important and to minimise your mistakes."

It is not just on the field that Oates has benefited from having Miles in his life.

"He changed the way I went about my life outside of footy and made me understand that I have to be a professional on and off the field," Oates said.

"He made me think 'Do you want to drink and not make the most of life, or make the most of it while you have got a career?'.

"We've got a baby girl due in April and I'm really excited about that. I always wanted to be a young father, but I reckon the person I was when I was 21 would never have been ready to be a father. I'm 24 now and I feel like I am definitely ready.”

So does his father-in-law reckon Oates will be a good dad?

"He'll want to be," Miles grinned.

The extended Miles' human family is set to grow, as it already has in the animal kingdom as Oates, with great amusement, relates.

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Sunday arvo walks with my little buddy 🐶🐶🐶 #sundayarvowalks #marlin

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"When I first played for Queensland I said to Gene: 'Hello, and here’s my dog',” Oates chuckled.

"You are away in camp for a week and-a-half so I dropped Marlin off, and he’s not the smallest dog…a big Kelpie-Labrador.

"It was my second or third game for Queensland and Gene said to me: 'I don't know if I want to pick you again because I don't want to have to look after your dog'."

Miles hadn’t had a dog in the family home for a long time, but now there are often three around.

"All of a sudden seven years ago my son had a relationship with a girl and as part of their little love affair she bought him a dog. The girl is no longer there but the dog is, and my wife fell in love with the dog, a Rottweiler [named Zeus] and he is still here," Miles grinned.

"Then Tegan brings old mate into her life and along comes Marlin with it. When he goes into camp we inherit his dog for 10 days and I've really got attached to Marlin now. Tegan has a dog, Snapper, as well. Snaps is part of the big family now…so we've got three dogs."

Miles is also one of three Queensland selectors. While the chairman of the panel, Oates knows he gets no special treatment at the selection table.

"There are two other selectors anyway, but I'm not getting any favours from Gene being my father-in-law. I still feel like I was playing pretty good football when I got dropped in 2017," Oates said.

Maroons winger Corey Oates
Maroons winger Corey Oates ©NRL Photos

"Whenever I don't get picked I still ask the question 'What do I need to do to get back?'."

Miles has told Oates he has to hit the ground running for Brisbane this year if he is going to retain his Queensland jersey.

"The only way he can do that is by performing consistently week-in and week-out. That was my simple message to him," Miles said.

"I was pretty happy with the way he played last Thursday night, even though the Broncos didn’t win the game. I said 'You didn't have any mistakes in you, which is what we want to see, and there was plenty of effort in you'."

Oates scored the only two tries for the Broncos in the 22-12 loss to Storm.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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