BERKREY READY TO BATTLE THE BULLDOGS

By Les Muir

EXPLOSIVE Gundagai forward Luke Berkrey thinks he might need some practical advice from Tigers team-mates Cameron Woo and Damian Willis.

Heading into his first ever game in rival colours against Cootamundra, Berkrey reckons Woo and Willis are the perfect players to know what he can expect from the Bulldogs.

“I suppose I should find out from Wooy and Willy,” Berkrey said on Friday.

“After all they’ve done it before.”

Like Willis and Woo, who made the transition from Junee to Gundagai, and later confronted their old teams in conflict, Berkrey will get a taste of friendly fire at Les Boyd Oval on Saturday.

In a defining moment of his barnstorming career, Berkrey will be on the opposite side of halfway to his hometown team.

Berkrey was born and bred in Cootamundra and lived there until he was talent-spotted and recruited by the Canberra Raiders as a 16-yearold.

After completing his football apprenticeship with the Raiders, Berkrey had a year with the Melbourne Storm before returning to Cootamundra in 2013 to start making a massive impact on the Group Nine premiership.

For three years he gave the Bulldogs superb service, but broke ranks to play alongside Luke Branighan at Queanbeyan Blues last year.

Looking to return to Group Nine in 2017, Berkrey put up his hand to join Gundagai, a move that did not quite come off in 2015.

With all that in the past, the time has come for Berkrey to shove his head squarely into the lion’s mouth at his former home ground.

And he isn’t exactly sure what the reaction will be.

“I honestly don’t know,” Berkrey said.

“Guess I’ll find out on Saturday.

“I think I left there on good terms.”

As he ponders running the gauntlet, Berkrey is aware he could be in for a challenging afternoon.

“Tell me about it,” he said.

“Coota at Coota on a Saturday is never going to be easy.”

Despite the dramatic circumstances, Berkrey is not altering his regular routine.

“It’s all been pretty normal (this week),” he said.

“I’ll see how I am when I get to the ground.

“I think it’ll be pretty normal.”

As much as Cootamundra is lagging on the table, Berkrey is not counting them out against a team that is sharing the lead on the ladder.

“Southcity put on a few points against them last week, but they (Southcity) are a very good team,” he said.

“Coota had been going pretty well before that.

“They’d beaten Kangaroos and pushed Young and Tumut.

“It’ll be a tough game.”

Perhaps even tougher for some than for others.




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