Brush torn between good mate and the club she captains
Canberra United captain Ellie Brush is torn over the Ellyse Perry (pictured) situation. Photo: Andrew Sheargold
Canberra United skipper Ellie Brush has backed the club's request for Ellyse Perry to make a full-time commitment to the capital and believes ''no player can be bigger than the club''.
But Brush has urged good friend Perry to consider a move to the capital to continue with United and complete her cricketing duties with the ACT Meteors.
The Canberra Times understands United floated an idea to Perry this week to join the Meteors to play in the women's cricket season while also training for the W-League champion. But with the Australian cricket coach in Sydney as well as her studies and a strong connection to the NSW Breakers, Perry declined and is likely to be searching for a new W-League home.
As revealed in The Canberra Times on January 18, Canberra coach Jitka Klimkova wants Perry to up her commitment to train four times a week with the team.
Perry lived with Brush when she travelled to Canberra to play for United last season.
''I can see both sides of the story … Canberra United hasn't said pick cricket or soccer, but this is the commitment we expect from our players,'' Brush said.
''We'd still love to play with Ellyse and what's to say she can't play for the ACT Meteors?
''Ellyse stepped up her commitment last season a lot more and would probably have seen this coming.
''The choice is up to her in the end … I'm torn a little bit. I know how successful she is at cricket but as captain and wanting to build a professional culture, it comes down to no player can be bigger than the club.''
Canberra has not asked the dual international to choose between cricket and soccer.
There is no ill feeling between the parties and Perry has handled herself with aplomb with her immediate playing future unclear.
The request is part of Klimkova's plan to continue her team's success and create a professional environment.
Australian Opals basketball coach Carrie Graf says it's more than fair for the club to ask Perry to commit to United on a more full-time basis.
Graf has been one of the biggest campaigners for women's sport to turn professional.
Perry plays cricket and studies in Sydney and is one of the most recognisable faces in Australian women's sport.
But Graf said teams needed a professional approach to be successful.
''In a perfect world you have all your athletes together and working towards a common goal,'' Graf said.
''What Ellyse is doing is unheard of for an elite athlete … she's super talented to be on the national team for both sports but there was always going to be a point in time where she had to choose.
''It's a tough one for her with a hard choice, but similarly Canberra United had to make a hard choice because she's a star player.
''It's a contract, both sides know what is being offered and the requirements and as a club I think it's more than fair for Canberra United to ask for that commitment.''
Perry joined Canberra at the start of the 2009-10 season and juggled her soccer and cricket duties.
She had an agreement with then coach Ray Junna to train on Friday nights before playing.
Now Klimkova wants a greater level of involvement.