Berry ‘confident’ of re-signing with Brisbane Lions

Oliver Caffrey |

Brisbane midfielder Jarrod Berry is confident he will join great mate Hugh McCluggage in soon re-signing with the Lions.

After McCluggage penned a monster seven-year contract to remain with the Lions, interested rival clubs turned their attention to Berry – a restricted free agent at season’s end.

Berry and McCluggage were drafted to Brisbane in 2016, after forging a strong friendship while playing junior football in country Victoria.

The pair are likely to finish their AFL careers together at the Lions as the club strives to win a first premiership since 2003.

Hugh McCluggage (left) and Jarrod Berry.
Long-time friends Hugh McCluggage (left) and Jarrod Berry are both key players for the Lions. (Glenn Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“There’s many factors and that (McCluggage re-signing) is certainly a small factor,” Berry told AAP about his future plans.

“We’re just biding our time and letting my footy do the talking. 

“We’re not in any rush (to sign), and neither are Brisbane, but we’re both confident we’ll settle on something pretty soon.”

Berry is coming off a starring performance in the Lions’ 43-point demolition of the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

The 26-year-old had the job of tagging Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli, who was coming off a match-winning effort seven days earlier against Collingwood.

Berry had 14 disposals to Bontempelli’s six at halftime as Brisbane led by 33 points to set the tone for the Lions’ crucial victory.

“It was early in the week (when the coaches told Berry he would be running with Bontempelli), so I had plenty of time to prepare,” he said.

“I think he got off the chain a little bit at the end (in going forward to kick three goals), but it was a good battle and I enjoyed it.

“It was pretty slippery in the middle, we fell over a few times.

“But he’s a superstar, so I enjoy those challenges.”

It wasn’t the first time Berry has shut down an opposition star, famously doing a job on Melbourne’s prolific onballer Clayton Oliver in the Lions’ upset semi-final win at the MCG in 2022.

“It’s definitely mentally draining,” Berry said of tagging.

“I don’t know if I’d enjoy doing it week in, week out, but I love the competitive side of the game and I like to challenge myself against those guys.”

Berry is back as a regular member of the Lions’ centre-square rotation after shoulder issues led to him being used more on a wing in recent seasons.

“It’s the position I grew up playing and feels most natural and comfortable to me,” he said.

Lions coach Chris Fagan was delighted he had a fit-again Berry to use in the midfield.

“The reason why we hadn’t played him in there a whole lot was because he had a lot of problems with his shoulders last year, so we were playing him out on the wing to keep him out of the contest,” Fagan said.

“But he had an operation over the summer, he’s recovered well, and when he’s got the opportunity this year to go inside, he’s taken it with both hands.”