Broth­ers in arms


Wanneroo Weekender - - Front Page - Mark Don­ald­son

BROTH­ERS are com­mon in the WAFL, but six sets of them play­ing at one club in the same sea­son – that’s a rar­ity.

This is the case at West Perth in 2017, with 12 sib­lings fea­tur­ing across the colts, re­serves and league sides.

Among them are Fal­cons cap­tain Jay van Berlo (28) and younger brother Mitch (23).

The older van Berlo, a for­mer Fre­man­tle player, has had ties with the Fal­cons for more than a decade and can’t re­mem­ber a time when so many fam­ily mem­bers were play­ing in one sea­son.

“There have al­ways been broth­ers around but at the mo­ment there are quite a few sets, so it’s good for the club and good for the fam­i­lies sup­port­ing,” he said.

“There’s a lot of ban­ter all the time with the broth­ers and be­tween the broth­ers them­selves, so it’s good fun.”

He said there was a great sense of pride in shar­ing the field with his younger sib­ling, who had worked hard to bulk up dur­ing a year out of the game in 2016 be­cause of work com­mit­ments.

The Van Ber­los are joined in the league con­tin­gent by star mid­fielder Shane Nel­son and younger brother Scott, who de­buted this sea­son.

A sig­nif­i­cant fam­ily mo­ment was re­alised when the pair shared the field for the first time in round 2.

Given the more than four-year age gap be­tween them, they had plenty of bat­tles at home grow­ing up but had never played on the same team.

“It was a dream of ours to play to­gether and it came a bit ear­lier than ex­pected,” Shane said.

“There was al­ways a lot of ri­valry… we used to play on the front lawn and he used to end up cry­ing, which was pretty funny.

“I was a lot big­ger than him back then, but the ta­bles have cer­tainly turned now.”

He praised his younger brother’s work ethic over sum­mer, which had him in­crease mus­cle mass in prepa­ra­tion for a se­ri­ous tilt at se­lec­tion in the league side’s back line.

In the re­serves, Ai­dan (22) and Conal (19) Lynch suited up to­gether for the first time in 2017, while Bray­den (22) and Mitch (20) An­to­nio have been team­mates since last sea­son.

Re­serves team­mates Ja­cob Turner (20) and An­gus Allen (19) have younger sib­lings – Zac Turner (18) and Os­car Allen (18) – in the colts squad.

Last year, the Al­lens fea­tured in three colts games to­gether. There were hopes a third Van Berlo could join West Perth in 2017, with the re­tire­ment of for­mer Ade­laide cap­tain Nathan van Berlo.

But the West Perth skip­per said his older brother, who took up a de­vel­op­ment role with the Crows, was set in South Aus­tralia for now.

“We’ve al­ways said we wanted to play to­gether, I’ve only ever played against Nathan (for the Dock­ers), never with him,” he said.

“It would be great to pull on the boots to­gether; I’m just not sure where that will be… it might have to be down the track in some lo­cal footy.”

And if six sets of broth­ers at West Perth wasn’t al­ready enough of a quirk, there are two other cases of match­ing sur­names, which could sug­gest there are eight pairs of sib­lings.

But cham­pion vet­eran Matt Guadagnin is a cousin of re­serves foot­baller Zac Guadagnin and se­nior mid­fielder Corey Chalmers is no re­la­tion to colts player Bai­ley Chalmers.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey­mu­ni­ d467883

West Perth Play­ers-Zac and Jake Turner, Jay and Mitch van Berlo, Ai­dan and Conal Lynch, An­gus and Os­car Allen, Bray­den and Mitch An­to­nio and Scott and Shane Nel­son.

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