Barry praises Ray

By Jamie Lowe

Leo Barry jnr has sung the praises of Deniliquin’s Raymond Murphy in achieving the New South Wales Combined High Schools Sports Association Blue.

He is the first Deniliquin student to earn the award since Barry jnr was presented with the honour in 1993.

The 16 year-old was presented with the Blue for his achievements in Aussie Rules football.

Barry also received his Blue award for footy, completing Years 7 to 10 in Deniliquin before the Swans drafted him in 1994.

He completed his senior high school years boarding at Saint Ignatius College in Riverview, Sydney.

The 2005 AFL premiership winning hero, who played 237 games for the Swans from 1995 to 2009, said earning a NSWCHSSA Blue was an important step in his sporting career.

‘‘I got the award for the same thing as Raymond and it meant a lot to me when I got it,’’ Barry said.

‘‘When I was his age I played as many sports as possible, but footy was definitely my best sport.

‘‘Winning an award like that, at that age, is a feather in the cap for Raymond and when you hit about 15 it all starts to become more serious when it comes to footy.’’

Like Raymond, Barry also competed in various footy carnivals as well as playing local footy.

The only difference between the pair is that Raymond plays at Memorial Park with the Deni Rovers, while Barry is a former Deni Rams junior.

‘‘Playing in those carnivals, you get a gauge of how you match up and how well you compete against the best young players in the state and country,’’ Barry said.

‘‘But most of the hard work starts now for Raymond if he wants to play AFL.

‘‘What he has already done is a huge achievement. Think how many other sportspeople were in contention for that award.

‘‘He has already clearly shown his sporting prowess and this award should hopefully help him find a pathway to the Under 18 comps.

‘‘I’d like to say congratulations to Raymond and wish him all the best with his footy.’’