MORTLAKE teenager Tyler Fowler will soon face a decision dozens of talented teenagers have had to make.
The time will eventually come when Tyler has to choose between pursuing either a cricket or football career.
But for the time being, the 14-year-old is content handling commitments in both sports, a balancing act he’s executing well.
Tyler, a North Warrnambool Eagles onballer, won the 2012 Hampden league under 14 football best-and-fairest award. But he’s gone one better with his emerging cricket career, earning selection in the School Sport Victoria 15 and under squad.
The young paceman, who plays juniors with Caramut and seniors with Boorcan, will contest national championships in Perth from February 23 to March 1.
“I love my footy a bit more but I still love cricket,” he said.
“I don’t have a main choice but footy is the one I love most. I get to run around.”
Tyler, a Mortlake P-12 College student, received an invitation to trial with Victoria after impressing for the Western Waves under 14s last summer.
His road to the squad included net sessions at the MCG and trial matches at Geelong Grammar and Caulfield Grammar, after which selectors cut the squad to 25.
A final practice match finalised the 13-player squad. He is the sole Western Waves cricketer bound for the West Australian capital.
Tyler said he was excited about taking on the best young cricketers in Australia.
He said his goal at the titles was to “try and hold my end up, try and stay with them”.
“The competition is so much different from playing in the country,” he said.
“Going up to the grammar schools, most of our games are on hard wickets. Coming onto the turf, I’m not as used to it.
“My bowling has become a bit better and I’m batting a bit better, playing a bit straighter.”
Tyler followed his father Jason, a top-order batsman, to Boorcan and has impressed taking the new ball or coming on as first-change. He has five wickets at an average of 30, with his best figures a tidy 2-13 from nine overs against Noorat.
The national championships will be a step-up again, but he was hopeful Victoria could take out the title.
“I’m not sure but there are a couple of kids there who are very good,” he said. “One kid made 120 in one of the practice matches and I ended up getting him out. I came on towards the end.
“Some of them get scholarships to go to the grammars and get coached properly.”