An extremely tough preseason was awaiting Luke Towey when he arrived in Australia to play AFL for the Gold Coast football club over six months ago but now feels he has found his feet in the game played down under.
It took the Sligo county player some time to get use to training in the scorching heat in Queensland before his body made the adjustment in which he found it easier to breath when running and his body adapted to the temperature.
In terms of the game itself, he described AFL as “really different to GAA. The amount of running and the pitch size was a big change that I had to easily adapt too.”
Towey, who won a GAA Freshers All-Ireland for DCU in 2018 is delighted with his move to Australia although it was a tough decision to make after only completing two years in DCU and having to leave his family and friends.
“It was something that I always wanted to do and something that I had put my mind to doing for some time, so I was kind of set on it.”
It’s an early rise for Towey on an average day where he will wake around 5:30, get breakfast and head down to the beach for a swim to refresh himself and prepare for the day ahead.
Upon his arrival at the football club, physio is first on the agenda to make sure he is fit and ready for the challenging training ahead. After being strapped up, tapped and stretched, Towey heads for a meeting before starting on field training, “with loads of sun cream obviously.”
After a tough training in the hot sun, the players have a break for about an hour before heading into the gym which is followed by a tactics and game plan meeting before they return home for the evining.
During preseason its incredibly intense for the players with a normal day following the routine of “training, eating and sleeping.” After Christmas, however that changed slightly as all the hard work from preseason was complete, so the training load was reduced, and the team started getting into games.
Living so far away from home for any young athlete can be tough but Towey feels he has coped well so far.
“I’d be lying to you if I said everyday was perfect and that I wasn’t struggling at all because obviously there are a couple of days that are harder than others.”
Towey knows there will be more tough days ahead but emphasizes that during these times he thinks of the goal he has in mind and what he wants to achieve.
“It’s easier said than done but when I’m faced with a day that I’m really struggling with I think why I am out here and why did I come out here originally.”
Towey is currently on a 2-year contract with the Gold Coast Suns. He stated that it isn’t up to himself whether he stays on after his contract is up, but he will put in all the work and see where it takes him.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the club whether they keep me on, but I am currently just taking it day by day,” said Towey.
The AFL season was supposed to start last week but has been now suspended for 11 weeks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The journey so far has been both physically and mentally challenging for Towey, but the Grange man from Co. Sligo is optimistic about his future in Australia.
Image Credit: Laszlo Geczo INPHO