Years of hard work pays off for Connolly
Cooper Connolly’s father Shane says his son’s performance in the BBL Decider on Saturday night was well earned after years of hard work.
The Scorchers looked gone for all money against the Brisbane Heat when the 19 year old came to the crease with 40 runs required from 19 balls, but he smashed 25 from 11 balls, including two huge sixes, to help get them over the line.
Connolly said he was initially hoping his son would not be required with the bat.
“It’s pretty amazing to see one of your children perform so well on the big stage. It was a pretty good night for the family,” Connolly told Sports Breakfast.
“I was nervous, but I sort of calmed down a bit. I thought ‘well, you’ve really got nothing to lose’, so the expectation, not probably going to get there. We were sitting in the staff box and it was fairly subdued at that point.
“After that first six, I thought everyone thought there was a chance, and he just kept going, so well done to him.”
Connolly, an assistant coach at Cooper’s grade club Scarborough, said he was amazed at how the Scorchers faithful got behind his son.
“I think after the run out, there was a bit of a lull, it sort of went a little bit quiet, and as soon as he got that first six away, the crowd just erupted and they were so loud,” he said.
“I got a bit choked up, you hear people calling out Connolly and calling out Cooper, and it’s actually surreal, when you’re sitting there you’re thinking ‘is this actually my son’, it’s sort of like an out of body experience.
“The crowd, I think some of the players spoke about it in their interviews, it’s like a 12th or 13th man, they were just so supportive and so backing.”
A photo of a young Cooper with club teammate Andrew Tye has gone viral since the win, with Connolly saying the pair had always had a strong relationship.
“I can’t thank AJ enough. I’ve known AJ since he was 15 or 16, so he’s known Cooper almost from the day he was born, I suppose,” he said. “He obviously presented Cooper’s cap when he played his first Scorchers game, and I think [his wife] Bonnie told me he had a few more words to say, but he started to get choked up so he had to cut it short.
“Coops loves AJ. I think he always defers to him if he’s got any questions and he’s not sure about stuff, and AJ, being the great, great man that he is, is an outstanding role model.”
The Scorchers announced yesterday that Connolly had signed a two year extension with the club, keeping him in orange until 2025.