Will Sutherland: AFL prodigy picks cricket over footy

Will Sutherland has picked cricket over AFL.

SCHOOLBOY star Will Sutherland has chosen to pursue
an career in cricket ahead of Australian rules football,
ending one of the most hyped battles for elite young talent
in recent years.

The 17-year-old son of Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland
has spent much of the year agonising over the decision after
impressing in both codes at junior level.

He captained the under-19 Australian cricket side this year as
an all-rounder and featured in a Cricket Australia XI against a
touring Pakistan side in January.

The 195 cm teenager, a student at Melbourne’s Scotch College,
also impressed through college football and for Victoria Metro
in the underage national AFL championships.

Will Sutherland was tipped to be a top-10 pick in the AFL’s national draft.

Will Sutherland was tipped to
be a top-10 pick in the AFL’s national
draft.
Source:Getty Images

AFL recruiters have previously suggested he could be a top-10
pick, should he nominate for the national draft.

But in a rare loss for Australia’s dominant football code,
Sutherland has chosen cricket after a decision he described as
“incredibly tough”. “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,” he said.

“I really loved my experience in the recent under-18 (AFL)
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.”
Sutherland will complete his year 12 studies this year, prior
to any contracting by the Victorian Bushrangers.

The recruitment is a timely boost for Australian cricket,
currently embroiled in an ugly player pay spat.

Originally published as
Teen prodigy Sutherland picks cricket over AFL

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