The Hale School cricket curator recently won the National Australian Sports Turf Graduate Award after taking up the career instead of pursuing economics.
‘I was dreading the idea of spending 80 hours a week stuck in an office making other people rich,’ he said.
‘At the same time the English curator at my local cricket club got homesick with six weeks to go in the season, leaving the club without anyone to roll the pitches.
‘I put my hand up and, with nothing more than the knowledge gained from watching Tony Greig sticking a key in the wicket and some welcome advice from a WACA groundsman, got through the season.
‘The next season the club offered me the role of curator, which I accepted with open arms, and a career in the turf industry was born.’
Mr Cooney completed a sports turf management course at Challenger Institute of Technology and subsequently earned a job at Hale School, working alongside the school’s cricket director and former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes.