HORSHAM Saints football product has Tom Berry moved one step closer to achieving his AFL dream when after he was invited to the AFL national draft combine.
Berry was the only Greater Western Victoria Rebels player on the list of players that was released last week to attend the national combine from October 2 to 5.
He said he felt a mixture of relief and determination when he was told about the invitation by Rebels talent manager Phil Partington.
“It was a massive goal I had set myself at the start of the year,” he said.
"It was really rewarding to hear that and certainly very exciting.
“There was a bit of relief at first but I soon realised that this was just the next opportunity to do something in order to see how far I can go.”
His father, Troy, was the first person he told the news.
“At that stage it was fairly confidential but I still went straight to my old man,” Berry said.
Berry suffered a season-ending wrist injury while playing for the Rebels in July but will be able to continue working hard to ensure he is at peak fitness for the combine.
“At the moment I’m still just training to build up for the combine,” he said.
“It’s practically another pre-season just to prepare for the combine.
“I’ll push myself really hard by doing a lot of running because I can’t do anything else really.”
He said he was confident his injury would be healed by the first weekend of October which will ensure he could take part in all of the tests.
Tom’s brother Jarrod also went through injury troubles in his final year with the Rebels before being drafted by the Brisbane Lions with pick 17 in 2016.
Jarrod was still able to impress with his athletics abilities at the combine and has drawn a lot of praise in his first two seasons playing at the top level with the club.
Having gone through the same experience before Jarrod was able to provide his brother with some helpful insights.
“He just suggested that it was just massively important to get fit,” Tom said.
“He told me that I just need to work my arse off to make sure I was in the best possible shape for the combine.”
The combine will see 80 young hopefuls put through their paces from across the country.
The AFL clubs are in the process of submitting the names of any further players they would like to see tested at state combines.
The individual state combines will provide an opportunity for more than 100 extra juniors to stake their claim for a spot on one of the 18 AFL lists.