[Northside] Competition” (i.e. 3rd
runner-up in the Association awards).
There is little argument that Luke brought these traits with him when he arrived at the Senior Club.
Booker first played Under 18s footy in 2004, playing 30 under-age games over two seasons and during that time he played a couple of open-age games in the reserves. In 2006 he played six games only and then missed 2007 altogether, preferring to travel and to pursue his passion for Ultimate Frisbee. For instance, in 2006, Luke was captain of the Under 19 Mens Team that competed in the World Junior Ultimate Championships held in Boston, USA. In 2010, it was off to Florence, Italy to compete in the World U23 Ultimate Championships.
In 2008 he played a full season of footy with Division One and in 2009, at the age of 22, he debuted in Premier Division in the Round 8 match against North Shore at Gore Hill Oval. Luke has good memories of this important milestone:
“It was an absolute mud bath. I remember starting on the bench anxiously waiting to get my first crack at it. About 5 minutes into the quarter I was sent on to tag one of their zippy forwards. At my first contest the ball carried long over my head and I had to back into the pack … the next thing I know I am picking myself up after their full forward has taken mark of the year on my head. After that contest I thought for sure I would be dropped and fined $2 for being a ‘broken step ladder’, so I worked hard to beat my opponent and kept him to just a handful of touches. I saw a fair bit of the footy that day and got named in our best players. I didn’t get dropped for the rest of the season. “
The result was a 31 point victory to the Demons and Booker was indeed named amongst the best for Penno. In the Club Notes for his debut round, it was noted that “Turner showed cool composure in defence when under pressure, remaining unflustered at all times [and] contributed to the win.” His excellent debut was rewarded by his selection in the AFL Sydney – Team of the Week for that round, alongside team-mates Aaron Crisfield and Josh Duncan. That season has proven to be his last in Premier Division as his wanderlust got a hold of him again and he played very little footy between 2010 and 2012. Since 2013, he has achieved a little more regularity and, 13 years after first joining the Senior Club, he has at last made it to 100 open-age games.
When asked about his playing style, Luke says he has always had a defender’s mindset:
“I played on ball as a young kid in junior footy but made my way down into the half back line from age U15-U19. When I started playing senior footy, in order to break into the first grade side at the time, I had to move up the ground onto the wing. Nowadays, I usually play on the wing for reserve grade although I feel like I still approach the game as a defender.”
Luke has played with some stars of the game over his time and says that “on paper” the best he has played with “would have to be Kieren Jack, Sydney Swans 200 gamer, 2 x Premiership player, a handful of Best and Fairests, just to name a few accolades.” Luke and Kieren were team-mates for three seasons from Under 13s to Under 15s. Whilst Luke still regards it as a “privilege” to have played with Kieren, as a junior footballer, it’s hard at the time to really appreciate how good someone might become and therefore the real significance of the relationship can’t be realised at the time.
Luke says, he feels “like I didn’t really know what it was to play this [great] game until I reached the U18s and subsequently, the senior grades. When a team starts to function and succeed off the back of a common set of principles and great victories occur because each player does their job, ahead of being a super star, that is when you start to notice the calibre of your teammates. In that respect, I have always admired guys like Damian Dell’Aquila, Brant Jack, Seb Parker and Anthony Brawn, because of their toughness around the contest, their smarts, their consistency, and their ability to rise to the occasion.”
Of career highlights, Luke has this to say:
“It was in my first year as an Under 18 player that I met Barnaby Howarth, Club Captain and First Grade Super Star. He welcomed the new U18 boys into the club by leading the pre-season training sessions and hosting a couple of social BBQs at his place. He was a great leader and a top bloke. Later that year Barnaby had his stroke, which all but ended his active way of life, let alone any hope of playing football again. In the years to follow I was fortunate to be very close with the Howarth Family and got to know Barnaby and witness his road to recovery. Barnaby has spoken about his love for this footy club at length since his accident, and the support that it has provided him. Watching The Fat’s 100th game at the Ern, in which he scored two incredible goals, 8 years after his stroke, was as good an event that anyone could hope to see in a lifetime of local football.” A unique moment when an individual was able to triumph over adversity, to achieve what seemed impossible, and to bring some level of closure in his career. And, for the football club as a whole, the realisation that this Club and the great game we play is not just about sport, but has the power to genuinely affect and shape people’s lives in ways that matter. For Luke, that Day “epitomised this great Club”.
At 29, Luke continues to be a consistent performer for the Division One side. He has not yet been able to experience the highs of a senior premiership, however, hope springs eternal that the Ressies might just sneak into this year’s final series and then anything is possible? Booker is readily recognisable by his signature ‘blond’ locks and he is a positive role model for younger players coming through the ranks. We congratulate him on his 100 game milestone.
Well done Booker.
LUKE TURNER Senior Football Career (Player 2004 – 2016)
|No of seasons
||11 seasons, 2004 – 2016 (ex 2007 & 2012)
||Total Open-age: – 99
(Premier Division – 13, Reserves – 80, Thirds – 6)
Under 18s – 30
||Reserve Grade R/U Best & Fairest (2008)
Reserve Grade Most Consistent (2015)
Under 18 Most Consistent (2005)
||Minor Premiers & Runners Up: Under 18 (2004)
||Jackson Turner (brother)
||U18 Grand Final 2004: Pennant Hills 7.6-48 lost to St George 7.7-49
||Premier Division Debut 2009: Pennant Hills 11.66-82 def North Shore 7.9-51
Written & compiled by John Acheson for PHAFC, Saturday 16 July 2016