One of the best set-shots in the game, Luke Breust’s goal-kicking prowess can be traced back to his younger years on the family farm.
Growing up in Temora – 418km south-west of Sydney – Breust spent the majority of his time sheering sheep for his parents before kicking the football through a small gap between a bunch of large structures.
“I remember lining up on Nick Dal Santo. i had to pinch myself. I had 26 on a few jumpers growing up” – Luke Breust
Featured in the latest instalment of Australian Wool Innovation‘s Fibre of Football series, the 24-year-old says the practice helped hone his skills before he arrived at Hawthorn.
“One day we just decided to go down and kick at the silo. I think it helped my goal-kicking, certainly once I got to an AFL club,” Breust said.
Breust enjoyed a simple but busy childhood. School would come and go each weekday, work on the farm followed, and then sport consumed whatever time was left.
His favourites included AFL, Rugby League, Basketball, Athletics, and a bit of cricket – though he concedes he “wasn’t much of a cricketer”.
From non-traditional AFL territory, the 2014 All-Australian has built quite a career. Now a dual premiership player, he’s become one of the most dangerous small forwards in the game, combining ground level capabilities with solid overhead skills.
Since his debut in 2011, Breust has played 110 games yielding 217 goals with a winning average of 80 percent. The man known as ‘Punky’ around the football club is yet to drop below 30 goals in a season and has kicked more than 40 goals in his last four seasons at AFL level.
Though he’s become a big figure in the game, Breust always finds the time to head back to place where it all began.
“I always like going home, especially if you go to a local footy game where there are kids around. Getting out and having a kick with them and seeing the smiles on their faces is the best thing for me.
“To be able to get out and play sport or gather with other family and friends, relax and get away from the stress of farming if it’s not going to well, sport in Temora is the key to doing that.”
Now six years into his AFL career, Breust finds himself lining up on the best defenders each week. But it feels like yesterday that he was idolising some of his opponents.
“I remember lining up on Nick Dal Santo and had to pinch myself. I had 26 on a few jumpers growing up… It’s a long way from Temora to the MCG.”