Dom Barry’s return to AFL is one of the great stories to come out of the draft.
Port Adelaide have had a much hyped recruitment campaign over the last few months. But there is one man who will be joining the Power who has arrived with little fanfare. Yet you could argue his story is the most fascinating.
Dom Barry grew up in Fregon in the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) lands. An area in the remote north west of South Australia.
Barry made his way onto the Demons’ list as part of the GWS mini-draft deal that saw Melbourne land Jesse Hogan.
Barry showed great signs at the Demons. His strong VFL form saw him promoted to the senior team. Only a couple of weeks after he made his Demons debut he signed a two year contract extension.
But after the end of the 2014 season, Barry caused a shock when he told Melbourne he had decided to walk away from the AFL after five games with the Demons.
Dom Barry reconnecting
Only a year after he walked away from AFL footy, Barry was back in the APY Lands driving the school bus and teaching young students. Barry was able to use his AFL experience to talk to his students about things like discipline, professionalism, and attention to detail that were so important during his time in the AFL system.
Barry got great satisfaction out of the work primarily because it allowed him to reconnect with his culture. Something he felt he wasn’t doing whilst at the Demons.
Barry spoke to The Advertiser earlier in the year about his move away from the AFL and his teaching work.
“It was hard for me (to quit) but I put culture and identity first.”
“I wasn’t in the right headspace because I hadn’t connected with my culture in the way that I was hoping.”
“I’d drive the bus and we’d become like a tutor in class then develop after-school programs to keep these kids engaged and give them a routine to follow.”
“They’d have basketball, football, soccer or tennis to keep active and make school and living in remote communities fun.”
Dom Barry’s AFL return
Dom Barry hinted earlier this year that he was keen on having another crack at AFL footy.
He had a strong season in the SANFL with Glenelg showing his blistering speed out of the backline. Something that is a huge asset in the modern day game.
He also has extremely silky skills and rated very highly in the speed, agility and kicking testing at the combine.
In the end it was Port Adelaide who selected Barry with pick 61 in the National Draft. Their fifth pick. Port have had some big names getting on board at Alberton, having landed Jack Watts, Tom Rockliff, Steven Motlop and Jack Trengove.
But I think Barry’s story will be the most interesting to watch. At 23 years of age, he joins Port Adelaide as a mature player. Someone who knows the AFL system.
More importantly, after his time away from the top level, he now seems to know what he wants to get out of his footy personally.
Make no mistake, this bloke has serious talent. Dom Barry has unfinished business at AFL level and he has all the attributes to be a weapon for the Power in 2018.
It’s great to see Dom Barry back playing AFL and we wish him all the best in 2018.