Report: JEFF STEPHENSON

WHEN it comes down to it there’s more to life than football and young Redland utility Luke O’Sullivan certainly has plenty of strings to his bow – maybe that should read plectrums to his guitar.

Luke, 20, loves football – let there be no doubt about that and he still harbors ambitions of attracting the attention of AFL talent scouts.

But he’s equally at home strumming his guitar.

The talented musician first picked up a guitar as a 10-year-old and after a few lessons and more self-learning as he progressed, he is now a proficient guitarist either of the electric or acoustic variety.

His big inspirations are the American singer-songwriters Jack Johnson and John Mayer, two exceptionally talented “musos” who provide Luke with his inspiration and commitment.

While his guitar playing is progressing well he is not quite as composed as those two in the singing side of things and while he likes to sing he “hasn’t really started” yet.

It’s something he will trend towards as time goes by.

But, Luke’s girlfriend Monica, has a great voice – it mightn’t be too long before a talented duet starts to emerge.

A committed Christian, Luke’s first experience in a band was with the Springwood Church of Christ where he started to develop the depths of his musicality.

It’s where he learned to formally adapt his talents and expand his playing abilities and it also taught him a good deal about values, commitment, dedication, teamwork and learning to be effective and efficient.

All nice traits and all which he could apply in other fields – such as football – for instance.

This is his first year as a fully-fledged Redland player, after having been rookie-listed the previous two years.

Until this season his talents had been divided between the Brisbane Lions and Redland and he has the enviable record of being a NEAFL premiership player with the Lions when they defeated the Sydney Swans by three points last year.

He kicked the first goal in the grand final and regards the premiership as “a great experience”.

“It was cool to be able to train and play with the Lions and the premiership is something I won’t forget,” Luke said.

But he’s just as “cool” about his relationship with the Bombers, where he has now racked up 23 games and where he feels his football has taken another step.

“I feel I’m playing consistently, playing a half-back or half-forward role and sometimes on a wing.

“I guess I’d like more time in the midfield, but there’s time for that.”

Despite Redland’s lowly standing on the NEAFL ladder, Luke is unfazed.

“Obviously when you go out to play the goal is to win; you enjoy the process more when you win.

“But I get great enjoyment going out to play. I know we’re on the right track and we’ve got the list to advance ourselves.

“We’ve got no-one else to blame but ourselves for our predicament.

“There’s been so many times we’ve been unable to finish games off when we’ve had the chance.

“That’s been the biggest disappointment.”

“It’s always been the simple things that have let us down – the basics.

“We won’t be playing finals but that’s not to say we just go out there in the last couple of games and go through the motions.

“We’ve got to try to salvage something from the season and use it to build towards next season.”

Those are mature offerings from a young player who has developed tremendously over the last few seasons.

Luke began his football as six-year-old with the Springwood juniors where he was eased into the game by a couple of ex-Victorians who followed the game quite closely.

They would be his parents.

He then expanded his junior experience playing with Mt Gravatt, winning the under 16 Division One premiership after having previously been runner-up at under 14 level.

Luke was a highly-skilled volleyballer in those early days but gave that sport away to devote his energies to AFL.

That decision was rewarded when he was aligned to the Brisbane Lions Academy and playing at State level at under 16s and 18s.

It was during this time that he registered “on the map” with a six-goal break-out performance against the Sunshine Coast that sparked much interest from AFL types leading him to his selection in the Brisbane Lions NEAFL team and, ultimately, last year’s premiership.

It should also be noted Luke played his first senior NEAFL match with Brisbane Lions as a Year 11 student.

“I got called up for that and had one or two games at that level the next year as well.”

His experience with the Bombers has not led to the ultimate team success, but he’s loving the experience and enjoying the relationship with players and coaches alike.

Luke has a close bond with coach Leigh Harding.

“Leigh is someone you can approach afterwards and talk about the game.

“I’ve called him after matches and spoke about this and that and he’ll take the time to chat about the things you’re worried about and work on things.

“He’s got a great game plan in place and we all know our jobs.”

The trouble, as he’s outlined previously, is that as a team those basics and seemingly simple parts of the game plan get shot down through a lack of care and efficiency.

But as Luke has also stressed – the season is not over just yet.

Oh, and should anyone wish to check out his talent on the guitar they should specifically request something from his newest big interest.

After a trip to Hawaii in February he became enamoured with the Aloha State’s beachy-style, rhythmic, folksy guitar influences.

Just ask, sit back and enjoy.

 

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