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The Badger The Berry

By Sam Berry

In Adelaide’s upset win over Geelong on Saturday, debutant Sam Berry laid a team-high seven tackles and was ranked second in the AFL in round one for pressure acts. Recruited from Gippsland with pick 28 in last year’s draft, Berry writes for about his surreal debut win.

The weekend was honestly unbelievable.

After the game, it was very exciting, and I had a lot of good energy. I’m still feeling pretty good.

I had seven mates drive over from Melbourne.

All my mates and my family that came over, we all met up together after the game, so I got to see everyone.

The crowd was almost deafening at times out in the middle of the oval. It was electric, and they were behind us the whole day. Our aim was to bring the heat and bring pressure.

To get a win against a team like Geelong, the Crows fans were up and about.  

It was an unbelievable atmosphere, and I think our supporters definitely gave us an edge.

It creates a sense of belief that when we do execute our game plan, we can come up and beat the best.

Looking up at centre bounces and realising you’re about to come up against the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, it was pretty bizarre and surreal.

But that kind of stuff got normalised a bit during pre-season. Training everyday with the big names you hear as a kid, like Rory Sloane and Tex Walker, you find out that they’re just people.

I tried to treat it as just another game of footy, and tried not to get caught up in it as much as I could.

I was nervous, but I was more excited than anything, and took it as an opportunity to see how I could go against the best.

In the first quarter, the ball was just pinging around left, right and centre. It’s a massive upgrade to anything I’ve ever done.

Sam Berry with his school mates who made the trek over to Adelaide for his debut game.

The heat, longer quarters, less rotations, longer midfield minutes. It was very tough, and I think match fitness is quite different to two-kilometre time trial fitness.

That’s something I’ll keep working on and try to get a lot better at as the season goes on.

Laying seven tackles, I guess I was in the right spots at the right time. The pressure the team brought, sometimes I was just on the end of it.

Pre-Christmas, I learnt the importance of the switch between footy, relaxing and living a normal life when I spent a week living with Matt Crouch.

He was injured at the time, but he taught me how to switch on and off, from when you’re at home to when you get to the club. He was so good at that.

Now, I’m living with Luke Pedlar and a host family. It’s super easy, the family I’m with are lovely. We get looked after pretty well.

Saturday’s win was very exciting, but it does set the bar high as well.

We know what we’re capable of now, it’s just about executing it week in, week out.

That energy from last week, hopefully we can bring it into this weekend against Sydney.