Bendigo Pioneer Zane Keighran. Photo: Andrew Perryman.

SPORT has always been a bit of a balancing act for Zane Keighran.

Whether it’s at the crease or on the football field he has long excelled as a junior, and in the past years extended that to senior ranks.

He has represented Australia for cricket and pulled on the colours of the Bendigo Football Netball League in under-18 ranks.

This season, his cricket stepped up as he made more than 400 runs for Golden Square in BDCA A-grade, just months after playing an important role for Golden Square in BFNL senior finals as a 16-year-old.

But when he had to make a call on which one to pursue, Keighran chose football, and the early indications are it’s looking like a smart move.

“I’ve set out what I want to do and achieve, and set some goals in order to get there,” he said.

“I think sacrificing cricket for now is something I have to do for now to achieve my goals at the end of the year.”

Not only does he have the lofty hopes of the AFL draft at the end of the year, but as a year 12 student it’s also his final year of school.

Like many of his teammates he is juggling those commitments.

“Especially when cricket was red-hot it was pretty tough but I’m getting used to it. It’s definitely pretty busy,” he said.

He plays his cricket and football much the same, aggressively, with equal doses of flare and skill.

Coach Bernie Haberman had him kick out in senior finals for Square last year, a job usually reserved for the team’s most reliable and skilful players.

And for the Dogs in cricket he opened the batting, again a strong mark of his on-field temperament and ability.

“I think playing with Square last year was very valuable. I was a bit undersized but you learn a lot smart wise in how to cope against big bodies,” he said.

“The finals series was definitely something I’ll keep close to me going forward.

“Bernie was big on me taking the kick ins last year, knowing I had the coach and the leadership group’s confidence in me was huge.”

Recruiters have shown interest in the 17-year-old, who is a classy ball user in defence and through the midfield.

He is continuing to work on his fitness, which he says will allow him to play more midfield time.

“I see half back flank as one of my best spots, I think I can play midfield but I do need to work on the fitness to be able to run the game out there,” he said.

“I’m pretty happy to play anywhere but the more strings to your bow that you have the better it’ll be.”

The Pioneers return to action this weekend against Calder on Saturday.

– Joel Peterson