Ahead of his third season in the AFL, Carlton’s Patrick Kerr took on the role as an AFLPA delegate. We went one-on-one with the Blues forward at the AFLPA Directors and Delegates Conference about his off-season, how he’s tracking during pre-season and what being a leader means to him.
It probably feels like a little while ago now but what did your off-season look like?
Yeah it does feel like a long time ago now but I went to a place called Bungunya, which is six hours west of Brisbane. I’ve got some family that live up there on a big property and they’ve got lots of cotton, cattle and other crops. I went up there for about seven days, it was a day and a half drive up there and back from Melbourne. That was a different experience because I hadn’t actually seen where they lived. I did that with my cousin, Sophie. I also went to Port Douglas for a week with my mum and brother. It was a pretty low key off-season, which was good. No overseas adventures for me.
How’d you feel hitting the first day of pre-season after a reasonably tame break?
I felt really good and more refreshed not having done a big trip. Obviously the drive was a big thing but for me just doing what I like and being out in the country and enjoying that aspect made me feel really fresh and also appreciate living in the inner-city.
You’re entering your third season of the AFL, how are you going with your own personal football goals?
I haven’t missed a beat yet. Last week was our fifth week back and I’ve done everything so far which was really pleasing. I just wanted to do absolutely everything I could. It shows that the more you do in the pre-season the better season you’ll have. The more I do I’ll feel like I can have a much better year than last year and the year before. That’s the goal for me this pre-season, to just do as much as I can, and hopefully it’ll have a return.
You’re new to the AFLPA delegate role, and the youngest delegate we have. How did the role come about?
Obviously having Rowey (Sam Rowe) move on, the boys were asked who they think should do it and my name got thrown up. I then got a call from Drummy (Marcus Drum) and Ed (Curnow) mentioned it to me as well. I’ve just grabbed the opportunity with both hands. You can mix with people in this group, who are pretty amazing, and tap into their qualities and what they do but also getting a bit of ownership over actually what the players do and can have in their time in the AFL. I’ve always been interested and wanted to get involved in the leadership side of footy. When the role came I was definitely going to say yes.
When you were playing in the TAC Cup, you were the vice-captain of the Oakleigh Chargers, do you see yourself as a leader or do you feel that was something that came more from your peers?
I definitely see myself as a bit of a leader. I had the commitment as vice-captain at Oakleigh but also captaining my school football side at St Kevin’s, so I did all that but leadership roles are always something I’ve wanted to do. The longer my career goes on, the more chance I’ll have at hopefully being able to develop those skills and really go from there.
Ed’s been a delegate for around six seasons so you’ll be able to pick his brain about what he’s done but what do you want to bring to this role to make it your own?
Having Ed it’s been great and we’ve been able to work really closely together. I want to be able to have everyone around the club see me as someone who is easy-going and easy to talk to. If they want me to tell the PA something, then I’ll tell it and vice versa. Just having that real honest and open relationship with my teammates and making sure they know I’m in their corner.
Everyone knows what you’re like on the field, but what does your life away from the football field look like?
Well, I’ve got a really big family. My dad was one of nine, so I’ve got lots of cousins that I like to see and spend as much time with them as I can. I play a lot of golf and also try and go to our family farm in the Yarra Valley where we’ve got a lot of Angus cattle and also a winery. I love just getting away from the city and switching off and really appreciating the simpler things in life.
I’m also studying media and communication. Dad runs a PR firm so I’ve chosen a course that maybe down the track I could look into the family business but I’m just chipping away with it slowly at the minute.
Do you rate yourself as a golfer, maybe even the best at Carlton?
When I’m on, I’m alright but I like to have a hit. If I play well I’ll certainly let you know. There’s only two golfers left now, Doc and myself, so I’m going to say myself. We lost Gussy Sheehan, Ciaran Byrne and Dennis Armfield so it’s me versus Sam and I seem to have the edge at the minute which is good.
Hopefully the golfing contingent grows a little bit then! Thanks for the chat and good luck with next season.
No worries, thanks Kavisha.