Jarryd Hayne is not the only Australian to make a recent debut in the NFL. Jordan Berry was selected as the punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2015 season and made his debut before Hayne when he played against theSuperBowl champions New England Patriots in the traditional stand alone season opener. He averaged 50 metres for his punt returns in the match..
Why the interest here--well Jordan played AFL for the Sherwood juniors when his sports scientist father Jason was completing his PhD. at UQ 15 years ago.
Jordan played from Under 9s to under 12s from 2000 to 2004 before his family headed back to Melbourne where he played for Aberfeldieunder 18s in the Essendon District League and the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup. He was a 194 cm and 95 kg ruckman and was a fine AFL footballer.
He tried out at an American football kicking school in Australiaand won a scholarship to study at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky and madename for himself as a kicker in College football --huge in the USA--and then tried out for the Pittsburgh Steelers where he won the punters role this year ahead of another Australian in Brad Wing, a former Sandringham Dragons footballer and is now with the New York Giants.
Berry’s father, Jason, played for 2 seasons for the Western Magpies in early 2000s as a tough, hard midfielder before he broke a leg playing against UQ. He went on to be a North Ballarat premiership coach and an Essendon Skills Acquisition Specialist coach in 2006-10 (before drugs scandal) and is Senior Sports Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Victoria University in Melbourne.
Jordan's Under 9 profile in the club's yearbook reads"the future looks bright for Jordan as his ability is second to none. Jordan can turn defence into attack with plenty of drive from his long kicking game and his pace". He played under coaches Rob Harwood, Romus Jakavicius and David Flack.
In Under 11s his coach was Brian Knight and Peter Bere was manager and his profile reads "Jordan played his heart out all year and is a very talented footballer. He has a big kick, a good mark and is fast for a tall player. He started to use his handball better than previously and if he continues to do that he will go a long way in the game" .
By the way Sam McNicol's profile in Under 9s read " Sam can play any position asked to and displays confidence in attacking the football. When fired up he is unstoppable".
Jordan is photographed on the left of photo when playing for the under 11swith Sam McNicol (he is the chubby one!!!) and Cameron Wright (centre) with coach Brian Knight, a past president of Sherwood AFC.
In a twist of fate Berry's Steelers play Hayne's 49ers this Monday--should create quite a bit of interest in Australia and new interest within the Sherwood/Western Magpies footy community .
(Some information sourced from Melbourne Herald-Sunand thanks to Bruce McNicol for Sherwood background)