Brisbane Lions make it easier for Berry dad
HE'S still having to rack up the frequent flyer points to watch his sons, but at least the Brisbane Lions have made life a little easier on Troy Berry.
Already entrenched in the Queensland capital as part of coach Chris Fagan's first-choice team, middle son Jarrod Berry was joined by younger brother Tom last November after the latter was drafted by the Lions.
"I can't quite really explain how lucky I am to have my brother up here," Jarrod said.
"It certainly makes Dad's job a fair it easier."
Jarrod said dad Troy had previously been forced to "do the rounds on a weekend" from the family home in Horsham, in Victoria's west.
There would be a trip to Melbourne to watch Tom play in the TAC Cup, with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, followed by a flight to Brisbane to watch Jarrod run out for the Lions.
"And then he'd fly back home and try to watch my older brother, Joel, on a Sunday (playing for the Horsham Saints)," Jarrod said.
"He was doing some big miles."
The Berry boys are in for the long haul at Brisbane with both re-signing yesterday - Jarrod for a further four years (until 2024) and Tom for two (2022).
Jarrod, 21, hasn't yet been able to talk his dad into settling up north.
"I've thrown that up to him a few times, but he loves Horsham," Jarrod said.
Tom was selected with draft pick No.36 last year - earlier than anticipated - with Jarrod's reaction filmed and posted online.
"As you saw in that video, that was just pure emotion," Jarrod said.
Tom, 18, is making an impact in the reserves, while Jarrod is becoming more and more pivotal to the top side.
"I haven't actually had much to do with him. He's been living with (teammate) Lewy Taylor," Jarrod said.
"Lewy's been massive for him, taking him under his wing. Two country boys ... they were bound to get along pretty well.
"You can see the pranks they do on Instagram ... they're pretty funny."
A tight-knit family the Berrys were forced to deal with the tragic passing of mum Jedda, who died from breast cancer in 2013.
Jarrod is now an ambassador for the Breast Cancer Network.
"We did the big head shave (late last year), which was a massive success, ended up raising about $60,000, which was huge," said Jarrod, whose hair was cut by former skipper Dayne Beams.
"It's one of those things - if they want me to do something I'm more than happy to put my hand up."
Jarrod has the same attitude on the field. In only his third season at the Lions he was added to the leadership group.
"It's a huge honour to be in that sort of group ... great to be recognised by your peers," he said.
Former Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge has been a big influence.
"He's the ultimate professionalism ... I just try and follow his lead," Jarrod said.
A big-bodied on-baller who stands at 193cm, Jarrod has played 43 senior matches and is averaging a healthy 22 disposals a game in 2019. Health was an issue over the preseason after he was diagnosed with a mild case of glandular fever. But you wouldn't know it now.
"I lost five kilos, basically just sitting there doing nothing," he said.
"But credit to the strength and conditioning staff ... they got me back going straight away and I was able to play in the JLTs (preseason competition).
"I'd have good first halves but then would die in the a--- a little bit ... just felt tired and lethargic at half-time.
"Come to round one, that didn't happen. I reckon I've fully kicked it in the butt."
Jarrod will be a key in the midfield today when the Lions (seventh at 4-2) host the floundering Swans (16th at 1-5) at the Gabba.
The game presents a genuine chance for the Lions to beat Sydney for the first time in 10 years.
"It's been too long," he said.
"(But) you know with Sydney, they've created their brand and they are always up for the fight.
"We're never going to take them lightly."