AFL draft: Foley name lives on in Eagles pick

Luke Foley, performing a sprint test at the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne last month, was taken by the West Coast Eagles Friday with pick No. 31. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images
Luke Foley, performing a sprint test at the AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne last month, was taken by the West Coast Eagles Friday with pick No. 31. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

NO doubt the Foley name wasn’t lost on the West Coast Eagles when they swooped on talented 19-year-old Luke Foley in today’s national draft.

Foley’s great uncle Brian was West Perth’s 1959 Sandover medallist, cousin Dan played for the Falcons and Richmond, and another great uncle Des represented West Perth and East Perth.

And having had his grandfather John Foley – a more-than-handy ruckman for Shenton Park amateurs – watch him come through juniors, the former Sacred Heart student is conscious of his family’s football heritage.

“Obviously I’m joined into a pretty big footy family with that lineage and happy to be part of it,” he said. “I’m very honoured and there’s a lot of history in the name.”

Foley, taken by the Eagles with pick No. 31, said nervousness gave way to relief and excitement when his name was called.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Luke Foley, a champion 400m and 1500m runner, in West Coast Eagles colours.
Luke Foley’s great uncle Brian Foley in a photograph on the wall at the West Perth Football Club. He captained the then Cardinals to the 1960 premiership and represented WA 21 times.

The Subiaco colts star, known for his hard running and penetrating kick, grew up barracking for the Eagles, with “probably Luke Shuey” his favourite player.

He received a congratulatory phone call from coach Adam Simpson and texts from his future teammates.

“Nic Naitanui gave me a call,” Foley said. “He just said welcome to the club and that he would see me on Monday when I start.”

He visited his old school in Sorrento to thank principal Peter Bothe for his support, which included fielding calls from AFL clubs inquiring about the young footballer.

READ MORE: How WA fared in the AFL draft

He has not been the only Foley in WAFL ranks of late, with his brother Fraser (21) on the senior list at West Perth, younger brother Kane (17) trying out for Subi colts next season and cousin Logan Foley representing the Falcons colts this year.

No doubt the Curtin University exercise, sports and rehabilitation science student’s selection made his parents and grandfather John proud.

“He watched my games in juniors and always had an eye out for me which was good,” Foley said of his grandfather whose advice to him included “always run and kick the ball”.

“He used to love the long kicks, Pop.”

Luke Foley marks strongly for WA in the under 18 championships. Picture: Getty Images