The odds of playing in the AFL are slim.
Of the estimated 2.8 million males in Australia aged between 18 and 35, only 0.028 per cent play professional football.
So what are the odds two best mates from Western Victoria would both be drafted, let alone to the same team? This was the glorious reality for Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage who are playing a large role in turning the tide at the Brisbane Lions.
The two Ballarat Clarendon College classmates and Greater Western Victoria Rebels teammates will never forget the moment they found out they would be going up north together.
"When it happened I was just in shock to be honest," McCluggage told The Courier.
Watch Jarrod and Hugh speak about their emotions at the 2016 AFL Draft.
McCluggage had already been drafted to the Lions with the third pick in the 2016 AFL Draft and was following the remainder of the selections on a friend's phone.
"It got to pick 13 and that's around where we thought Bez (Jarrod) would go and teams just kept passing him up - I just thought "gee there's a sniff here, Brisbane's pick is coming up."
When pick 17 came around, there was indeed 'a sniff' as Berry was selected.
It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. I couldn’t contain my excitement, I think I just ran out the front and gave him a big hug.Hugh McCluggage on he and Jarrod Berry being drafted together to the Brisbane Lions
It took a few moments before Jarrod realised the grand scope of what had actually happened.
"I turned and gave dad a hug and then looked over the table to where the McCluggage family was sitting and Christine (Hugh's mother) had the biggest smile on her face," he said.
"I remember it so clearly and that was when it started to all sink in that we were drafted together. After that you couldn't wipe the smile off my face."
The two had been tied at the hip long before their AFL dreams came true on draft night, however there was a bit of apprehension when they first met in 2014.
"My impressions of Hughy was obviously that he was a pretty quiet fella - I don't think I got a word out of his for the first four months (we played together)," Berry laughed.
Already a relatively quiet person, McCluggage admitted he was a bit intimidated by Berry in the beginning, who stood nearly 10 centimetres taller than him.
Originally from Warrnambool, McCluggage moved to Ballarat in 2015 to be closer to the Greater Western Victorian Rebels football program. Berry had made a similar move from Horsham in 2014, with the two pushed together inside the Ballarat Clarendon College boarding house.
It was inside the boarding house that their friendship began to blossom, somewhat by necessity as the two were spending most of their waking hours together.
The two truly could not escape each other as they were also a part of a carpool group alongside now-Port Adelaide midfielder Willem Drew and Casterton Sandford's Todd Clode.
Joining the four players in the car was then-GWV Rebels welfare manager Brooke Brown, who said the extended road trips forced the boys to come closer together.
"The best way to get to know people is locking them in a car and they've got nowhere to go," she chuckled.
Their time in the car helped strengthen the boy's relationships, which paid dividends on the field.
"When you get to know someone well and get to know how they've grown up and where they're from you're going to trust them more and play better footy with them," McCluggage said.
While their time inside the Clarendon boarding house helped their relationship off the field, their journey as players were guided by Brown and AFL talent manager for the GWV Rebels, Phil Partington.
Partington remembers having to push McCluggage as a 17 year old who was unsure if he belonged with the Rebels.
"It took some well timed phone calls and communication to convince him to play," Partington said.
"From that time on he grew in confidence, he knew he belonged."
Berry took no such motivation, as he came into the Rebels side already a confident and highly touted athlete.
"He had an air of confidence about him, not in an arrogant way, more in that he was just a hard worker," Partington said.
Berry's motivation to excel in whatever he did was instilled in him and his brothers Joel and Tom by their parents, Jedda and Troy.
The Berry boys tragically lost their mother Jedda in 2013 to cancer, however that hardship only drove them closer together as a family.
"I think every father should push to have a relationship with their sons like Troy does with his boys," Partington said.
Working and living in Horsham, Troy remains dedicated to make it to every Lions game to see Jarrod play. Now he'll get double the value from these interstate trips, as Tom, his youngest son, was drafted to play with Brisbane in the 2018 AFL draft.
Jarrod spoke about his elation when he saw Tom get drafted.
"I got pretty emotional when he got drafted," Berry said.
"We weren't expecting him to go so early so it was a pretty proud moment for us as a family - the club have really embraced us Berry boys."
Without his mother during his time in Ballarat, Brooke Brown found herself thrust into a surrogate role for both Jarrod and Hugh.
She struggled to put into words what the two boys mean to her. She couldn't help but laugh as she spoke about McCluggage's mischievous side that most were unaware of because of his quiet demeanour and Berry's way of bringing people together.
The boys similarly lit up when talking about Brown.
"She was pretty big for me in filling the void mum left and that dad couldn't always be there for," Berry said.
"She was really that motherly figure that took my journey and made me believe that I could get to where I wanted to."
It would be hard to truly encapsulate the relationship Brown and Berry share even now, however the fact Berry still sends her flowers each Mothers Day might give you a rough idea. McCluggage echoed his teammate's sentiments and added in their world where so much of their life was devoted to football, she could always bring things back to earth for the boys.
"You'd get to training on Thursday and she wouldn't be talking about footy, she's be talking about girls or something like that," he laughed.
While draft night was obviously full of celebrations, Brown couldn't help but feel a tad conflicted.
"My first thought was how dare they draft them interstate," she laughed.
"As soon as they drafted Hugh my thoughts were immediately 'when do Brisbane have their next pick, because we need to get Jarrod there with him."
Watch Jarrod and Hugh talk about how important the Greater Western Victoria Rebels were to their development.
The two live together in Brisbane with now vice-captain, 22-year-old Harris Andrews and amazingly, after spending the better part of four years together, the two aren't sick of each other.
Berry said the pair are basically siblings and thus fight as such.
"We fight like brothers. He's a brother from another mother. We live pretty much out of each others' pockets," he said.
"He's a very stubborn kid. He'll just argue a point to argue a point. He gets under my skin. I'm not the greatest arguer so he always annoys me in that way."
While McCluggage's stubbornness and ability to pester Berry is somewhat famous, their coach from Ballarat Clarendon College said it pales in comparison with the level of annoyance Berry produced across his first year at the school.
"He was a pest when he came here in year 10," Brad Mcgowan said.
"He could just be a bit silly in the classroom and often needed to reined in."
While McCluggage sat chuckling next to him, Berry did not deny these accusations.
"I was worse at Horsham College," he said as a wry smile crept across his face.
"I guess I just had a big personality coming into the school and in the classroom I was a bit loud and just tried to be funny."
Maybe coincidentally, it was once McCluggage arrived at the school that things began to turn around for Berry in the classroom.
"In year 11 and year 12 you could really start to see Jarrod mature as a leader both on the field and in the classroom," Mcgowan said.
"He always wanted to improve and help others improve, if there was something he didn't understand he would put in the work until he got it."
Berry is now taking the leadership qualities he displayed with the Rebels and in the classroom and is imparting them onto the Lions, entering their seven-man leadership group ahead of the 2019 season.
It was by his actions off the field the Mcgowan saw leadership qualities within Jarrod.
"Personally I saw him be a leader in the classroom," Mcgowan said.
"In terms of football, he was so competitive and he just wanted to win... he was a natural leader."
For Berry it was almost a surreal experience to find out he would be a club leader at the age of 21.
"I was pretty lucky that I got a lot of opportunities as a junior to lead teams and I guess work on my leadership," he said.
"The Rebels were really important in that because they always taught me to always be strong and true to yourself as a person no matter what was thrown at me as a junior. I can't thank them enough for that."
Brooke Brown could barely control herself when she heard the news.
"When I saw that he had been put into the leadership group tears again started rolling down my face," she said.
Watch Jarrod and Hugh speak about their expectations for the 2019 AFL season.
"I think it happened because Jarrod is a peoples person. It's just the way Jarrod is, people are drawn to him."
Partington believes it was his tireless work ethic that earned him a stop in the leadership group.
"As a 21 year old, the Brisbane Lions obviously see a great future in what he provides to the club," he said.
Looking towards the upcoming 2019 AFL season, expectations are high for the duo as they enter their third season.
"For the Lions we're not going to put a limit on where we can go or what we can achieve this year, we just want to keep improving," McCluggage said.
"We obviously realise we only won five games last year so there's a long way for us to go but we're really excited with our list and what we can do."
Berry and McCluggage will return to their former home ground in Round 8 of the AFL season when Brisbane takes on the Western Bulldogs at Mars Stadium. The duo are excited about the proposition of lacing up the boots in the city that brought them together.
"Obviously we've played a lot of home games there - it's close to family and friends and a lot of important people that we've been talking about," McCluggage said.
While Berry is excited about the return, the winter conditions give him pause.
"I hope the weather does us a treat and it's nice and sunny, not too cold," he laughed.
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