Leo Barry Jnr is believed to be the first person from Deniliquin to be elected on and AFL club’s board, joining his beloved Sydney Swans’ board earlier this year.
The dual All-Australian defender was nominated by fellow Swans greats Peter Bedford and Paul Kelly and filled the vacancy left by Melbourne-based director Rob Pascoe, who is stepping down after 15 years on the Sydney board.
The former Deni Rams junior, who is a member of the Swans’ hall of fame and will forever be remembered for his match-saving mark in the 2005 grand final, feels privileged to receive such an honour.
‘‘I certainly am indebted to the club so I wanted to help where I can,’’ Barry said.
‘‘I still have a real passion for footy as well, and have kept a close eye on the Swans over the years.
‘‘Being on the board is as good a role you can have as a retired footballer, and now I’m fortunate enough to be still be heavily involved with the club.
‘‘I believe I’m the only ex-player other than Andrew Ireland to have joined the Swans board.
‘‘I’ll be looking to bring a fresh perspective to the board and hopefully will see the club thriving.’’
The Swans got off to a good start to their 2020 AFL campaign, scoring a thrilling three point win in round one against Adelaide, before the season was suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the win, Barry said he expects it to be a tough year for the club on the field if the season does start up again later this year.
‘‘We’ve got a young list this year and had a big exodus of experienced players at the end of 2019.
‘‘It can often be the start of something special though.
‘‘All you have to do is look back to the back end of 2009 to see what can happen within a few years.
‘‘The expectations this year are relatively low but you just never know what can happen.
‘‘I believe Tom Papley will be a big improver. He showed ability in the middle and up forward last year and is earmarked to improve again.
‘‘I also can’t wait to see what Tom McCartin can show us up forward.’’