Rising star could not resist volleyball's lure

Rising star could not resist volleyball's lure

AFL football is still Luke Perry's No.1 sport, but he says he was powerless to stop volleyball taking over his life.

The 18-year-old from Rossmoyne has had a whirlwind rise since taking the sport up while he was a student at Aquinas College a few years ago.

"My eldest brother started playing and because we had to do sport at school I thought I would give it a crack," he said.

"Then I tried out for the WA State team and made it and then travelled with them for a year.

"In 2011, I got picked to play in a competition in the national youth team which went to Thailand and then from there I have made my way up in the ranks."

Perry has spent the past two years based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra as the youngest member of the men's national team.

He is likely to take his talents overseas by end of the year, either to play in a professional European competition or on a scholarship at a US college, and has one eye on the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Standing at 185cm, Perry is also the shortest guy on the team and plays a crucial role as the side's libero (defensive player).

"You need to be a specialist at libero to make teams and go far in your career with it," he said.

"You control everything around you and guide your teammates through each point."

Perry has become a constant in the Australian back row and won plenty of admirers at the World League in Switzerland recently as the Australians finished sixth.

Next on the agenda are the world championships in Poland later this month.

"It was the first World League anyone in my team has played," he said.

"We beat some of the top teams in the world, we beat France which was a big thing for us.

"We will take a lot of confidence from World League for world champs."

Perry said he still kept a very close eye on his first love, football.

He said he had no regrets about concentrating on volleyball yet, but was not sure what might have been if he had continued on from being in the East Fremantle development squad and under-16s.

"I always wanted to play footy, but I guess volleyball sort of chose me," he said.

"Because I have made it so far so quickly, I didn't really have a chance to do anything with footy."