On a sports high

LUKE STRNADICA is a big kid with a big future.

Just 16 years old, the 199cm (6’6”) Hamilton Hill student is already knocking on the door of an AFL career—that’s if cricket doesn’t poach him. One of just 56 promising youngsters from across the country who were inducted into the AFL’s academy in September, he also stamped his presence on WACA cricket last weekend with his first ton—and it was a big one.

Belting Midland/Guildford for 144 out at Lilac Hill, Luke set a new record for Melville Cricket Club juniors. His last 44 came off just 16 balls, with his final tally including three sixes and 19 fours.

For the past four years he’s taken out both cricketer of the year and top run scorer for his age group, and is always in the mix for top wicket taker as well.

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• Luke Strnadica has a big future.

Grandfather Brian says the off-spinner gets a lot of bounce courtesy of his height. He reckons at just 87kg, the young bloke’s also a pretty nimble ruckman and that’s what has AFL clubs quietly sniffing around.

“Footy’s my love,” Luke offers when asked where he sees his sporting future. He started with the Winnacott junior football club and is now in East Fremantle’s development squad and the state under-16s.

He’s a big fan of the Fremantle Dockers and hopes to play with them one day. With Aaron Sandilands reaching the end of his career, a spot might soon come up for a new tall.

Luke comes with a handy right foot and, in a state match just before the national trials, he booted seven goals.

The family is being gently circled by sports agents: they’re banned under AFL rules from approaching juniors so contact has been limited to congratulatory notes after each milestone Luke knocks up.


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