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Dom Barry's transformation

AT the end of the 2014 AFL season, Dom Barry wasn’t sure if the football lifestyle was the right cultural fit for him. 

After playing five games for Melbourne in the two years he was contracted, Barry decided to head back to the APY Lands to be involved in his cultural ceremonies. 

“I put my culture first – I went home and did that,” Barry told FIVEaa.

“I felt a lot more settled after I had gone through it. I felt at peace with who I was. 

“It gave me the extra motivation to give AFL footy another crack.” 

During his time back in the APY Lands, Barry became an influential figure in the community – mentoring young school children, driving the school bus, and tutoring students throughout the day. 

“I was driving the school bus every morning, and in the afternoon I ran after-school programs to try to keep the kids engaged,” he said. 

“I found that there was a real need to have good role models in the community. 

“It was a great experience to be part of a culture that is so strong, and for me to continue that is the least I could do for my culture – it has certainly grown my passion for teaching.” 

The 23-year-old’s ability to connect with the students of his cultural homeland inspired him to undertake a Bachelor of Teaching at university

“I am one year into my teaching degree,” Barry said. 

“It will allow me to go back to my community after footy and teach the students back there.

“It is something that I’m really excited about.” 

The ex-Demon moved to Adelaide and played with Glenelg in the SANFL in 2017, where he was a dominant player. 

Port Adelaide used their fifth selection in the 2017 National Draft to recruit Barry, giving the talented left-footer another chance at AFL level – a chance that Barry is keen to take with both hands. 

“It’s been amazing (at Port Adelaide) so far,” he said. 

“I went to school with Jake Neade – he is one of my best mates, so it’s been great to link up with him again. 

“(Ken Hinkley) has been amazing. His interpersonal skills are incredible. He has been so welcoming.” 

Barry has already impressed the coaching staff and playing group by asserting himself as one of the Power’s elite runners – finishing second to Karl Amon in last week’s time trial. 

Port Adelaide’s new No. 41 isn’t going to put a ceiling on what is possible in 2018, and is hoping his work/life balance will hold him in good stead.

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