Dual-sport gun Will Sutherland knocks back football

PROMISING elite dual-sports athlete Will Sutherland has turned his back on a football career deciding to pursue a promising cricket career.

The son of Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland told Vic Metro officials this morning of his hard decision.

Sutherland released a statement today declaring it had been an “incredibly tough” call to choose cricket over football.

“This was an incredibly tough decision. Most of the advice that I received was to just follow my passion.

That sounds easy enough, but not so much when my passion is for both sports. I really loved my experience in the recent under 18 national championships when representing Vic Metro and this only made the decision more difficult.

When it came down to it, my love and passion for the game of cricket just won out. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed representing my state and country in the under-age ranks and the prospect of potentially being able to continue this at the senior level is very much my dream.

I’m excited and relieved about this decision and will now look to focus on completing my year 12 studies.” Sutherland said

Sutherland captained the Australia Under 19 team in their recent series against Sri Lanka and the all-rounder is expected to take up a Rookie contract with the Victorian Bushrangers for the upcoming summer. There is also talk Sutherland may be in consideration to receive a Rookie contract with one of the Melbourne Big Bash League teams, with sister Annabel playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL.

“We certainly believe he is a player who could play for Victoria for many years, and very possibly higher,” Victorian chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch told Fairfax Media in May.

Sutherland has been mulling over his decision over the last few months and will stick with his passion of cricket for the time being. It’s believed he is hopeful of joining the Cricket Victoria Winter Academy squad, training one night a week while he juggles his Year 12 school commitments at Scotch College.

He recently represented Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships – after being a late addition to the squad straight out of school football without playing TAC Cup football.

Sutherland booted five goals in his three games for Metro playing as a tall target up forward and pinch hitting through the midfield.

Some AFL club scouts believed Sutherland would be worthy of a top 5 selection on draft night and even was a candidate for the elusive number one pick.

Former Test cricketer and St Kilda footballer, Simon O’Donnell, in April suggested for Sutherland to follow his heart when it comes to making the decision.

“The key to the decision in my mind with what you have to do going forward is all about passion,” he told SEN Breakfast

“I would advise him to follow his heart. You’re not going to be able to achieve your best if you’re not totally and utterly committed to that sport.”

Brett Deledio and Marc Murphy are two recent AFL players who chose the AFL pathway after being promising junior cricketers.

Alex Keath went the other way, returning to football after playing seven first-class games for the Bushrangers and is now on the Adelaide Crows Rookie list.

Victorian Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy was best afield in the Sandringham Dragons win yesterday against the Bendigo Pioneers, booting three goals and will be hot on AFL clubs’ watch lists – while fellow Victorian teammate Ed Newman has been one of Mentone Grammar’s best in the AGSV school boy competition. Both Murphy and Newman will also have a decision on their hands with one AFL scout declaring that they were both draftable.

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