On the footy field, Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary has to stay two steps ahead of his opponent. A master at reading the game, finding a way forward, and seizing opportunities that open for him.
Off-field there’s no difference for the three-time premiership winner. Luke has always kept one eye on the future, jumping at the opportunity to study in the Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP) at the Australian Catholic University.
Husband to Amy and a new father to baby boy Hudson Van Keary, Luke understands the importance of planning ahead, studying part time for a Bachelor of Business Administration and preparing for life after footy.
“I’ve seen friends (retire) and think they’ll just be handed a job somewhere. It doesn’t happen like that,” said Luke. “Footy can forget you pretty quickly. The next big thing is always around the corner and the game moves on without you.”
A Catholic himself, Luke appreciates the lifestyle he’s found at ACU.
“It’s the little things throughout [ACU] that reflect the Catholic lifestyle. It’s not overbearing, it’s subtle and I think it’s what makes ACU unique and sets it apart from other Universities.”
“It’s the little things throughout that reflect the Catholic lifestyle. It’s not overbearing, it’s subtle and I think it’s what makes ACU unique”
Balancing a successful footy career, being a Dad and his study takes a lot of work – work Luke knows would be impossible without the support of his club and ACU.
“I can’t count how many times I’ve forgotten to enrol in something and the EAPP has organised to get me there,” said Luke.
“All the teachers and team in the EAPP are really helpful, you know if you take it seriously and do the work, they do what they can to help you.”
“When I left high-school, the last thing I wanted to do was go to Uni,” Luke said with a laugh. “Now, I’ve done a complete 180. I want to go on to study more and even do a Master’s degree.”
While Luke is unsure what life after footy may hold for him, he knows the ACU program is putting him in the best possible position to tackle any challenges that come his way.
He knows the benefits of study have been just as strong on-field as they have off, with the star crediting his academic pursuits with contributing to his career success.
“Some of my best years of footy have been while I’ve been studying.”
His advice for youngsters weighing up study and pursuing sport?
“You don’t have to choose between the two. They complement each other,” he said. “There’s plenty of research that shows it, the more you do outside of sport the better you perform.”