DCU student Luke Towey has signed with the Gold Coast Suns in the Australian Football League (AFL).
Towey has signed with the Queensland based AFL club as a Category B Rookie ahead of the 2020 season. He will make the move down to Australia at the end of this month to begin preparation for a demanding season ahead.
The St Molaise Gaels and Sligo footballer will be a big loss to the DCU football team this year, having already won an All-Ireland with the university back in 2018 as a fresher under manager Brendan Gillen.
The AFL scouting process began just under 12 months ago. Athletes were handpicked from various county panels across the nation to undergo a gruelling two-day fitness and skills testing event at UCD.
However, from those hopefuls, only four were selected to travel down to Melbourne and hone their skills in front of clubs in the hope of earning a contract. “I was lucky enough to be called back to the Gold Coast Suns for an opportunity and I did everything I could to be prepared for it and gave it my all,” said Towey.
There is an already established Irish presence that awaits Towey on the Gold Coast in the shape of former Mayo footballer and future teammate, Pearce Hanley. “He’s been brilliant. He’s always messaging me and going back and forth so he’s a really good mentor to have. He’s someone I’d look up to and someone I’d try and mimic my game from, he’s been out there years and he knows the game so well so I’ll be working closely with him,” said Towey.
The attraction of a professional lifestyle was hard to refuse, and for Towey, the “the chance to improve yourself” and to “test yourself against lads that are training everyday professionally” was far too good a proposition to pass up.
The challenge of playing a sport he hasn’t yet played competitively does not faze Towey, “The game is completely different in terms of tactics and how the game is read. It’s difficult to pick up but the only way to do that is by watching as much tape as you can and that’s what I intend on doing.”
As for getting used to playing with a different ball, “I’ve been practicing with that now for the past twelve months and the coaches are going to work with me solely to develop those skills.”
Relishing the chance he has earned, Towey is adamant on making the most of where he has positioned himself, “It’s something that I really want and something that I’m willing to give everything to”.
Image Credit: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO