The New Adelaide Jedi: Luke Nankervis' Journey to the AFL
BY NATHAN SEPE
Whilst most AFL prospects see their name on a mock draft early on in their NAB League Season, for many, their name is unheard of, but with hard work, perseverance, and dedication to their craft, there is always a way in footy.
Luke Nankervis is a prime example of hard work and dedication, working his way through the ranks, playing his junior years at Bentleigh in the SMJFL with his most recent premiership at Under 16, and afterward presented with the opportunity at the Dragons, with eight games under his belt averaging 13.5 disposals, 3.4 marks and an impressive 5.4 tackles per game.
Pictured: Nankervis during his junior years with Bentleigh in the SMJFL
Even throughout the COVID lockdowns, Luke gave himself a unique chance at recognition and ultimately found himself at the Adelaide Crows who had a key eye on him throughout his draft season, joining new recruits Josh Rachele, Zac Taylor, and Jake Soligo.
In an interview with Luke, he outlined his journey at the Dragons and gave an insight into life in the AFL World at the Adelaide Crows.
For Luke, he earned his spot with grit and determination, finding multiple positives in the COVID years where the NAB League shut down in spurts. “I basically took that time as a blessing to work hard by getting my body in shape, gaining muscle, improving fitness, sprint speed and improving my skills all round”
The Crows have found a devoted character, and when questioned on his love for the game, his answer was quite simple. “I just love footy, playing with my mates and I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than playing footy”
Pictured: Nankervis will be working hard to impress teammates and coaches at his new AFL club
Luke was a hard worker on and off-field during his time at the Dragons, and when questioned about his development at the Dragons, the club community stood out for him, commending key personnel and the culture of the club to provide guidance throughout his journey.
“Quite a few people impacted me at the Dragons. Joshua Burke was the first coach that gave me a chance and saw something in me along with Mick Lovejoy. The biggest person that took the time to help me and was always there for a chat was Jackson Kornberg (Senior Coach 2021). Jacko was a great coach who was always there to help me with my footy and give me the self-belief that I had it in me to go all the way”
Pictured: Nankervis gets a kick away against the Oakleigh Chargers whilst playing for the Dragons
Luke reflected on the moment his name got read out by the Crows, relaying how it “all happened very quickly. One night I was unsure if I was going to get drafted and what my future looked like to the next day leaving for Adelaide. It’s been a big blur but absolutely unreal. The boys and staff at Adelaide have been very welcoming so feel very at home in that community.”
The hard work has only begun for Luke, with a focus on skill development a top priority in his journey to get some senior games under his name. “Everything needs to be improved no matter how good you are. Everything can be improved so I’ll keep working on my all-around game to become a better player, but a main area of learning would be positioning and how I can improve my game through that.”
When questioned on his goals, Luke stated his devotion for gaining respect in his craft and personnel. “One of my main goals is to be respected by all my teammates and coaches. By being respected, working hard, and playing my role at the Crows, I will end up with the ultimate goal of playing an AFL game and getting team success.”
Pictured: Nankervis with new Adelaide teammate Sam Berry
From the days at King George Reserve, RSEA Park, and now the old stomping ground of Football Park, Luke wants to go all the way, gearing up for success for the Crows as well as his personal development to become a player that compliments everyone around him. The Jedi has landed in Adelaide, ready to make an impact out of this world!