Boyhood fan signs for Steeldogs

Tom Berry
Tom Berry
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Tom Berry says it is a dream come true to have signed for his boyhood club Sheffield Steeldogs, after he signed his first deal.

The defenceman, who will be 17 later this month, has joined Cam Brownley as the latest youth prospect to join Andre Payette’s squad after impressing over the course of the year with the first team.

Berry, a Sheffield junior, was one of five players elevated to first team training after a week-long training camp at the start of the season and Berry recalling on his ‘surreal experience’ said: “ I really can’t describe how good this past year has been.

“It has been like being around celebrities to me, I have been playing for ten years and watching the Steeldogs since I was seven so this is a dream come true. I know that it isn’t going to come straight away, I just want to continue working as hard as I can to keep improving as a player and help the squad in anyway I can to succeed.”

Steeldogs head coach Andre Payette is pleased to have tied down his latest recruit having been impressed by Berry’s work ethic: “He has done absolutely everything that has been asked of him.

“He has been into every practise and function and he really showed that he wants to be part of the Steeldogs.

“The best way for him to progress now is to be with us full-time and he and Cam will get their chance next year. They are both very exciting prospects”

After seeing their EPL season come to an end in the play-off quarter-finals, Andre Payette has hailed Sheffield Steeldogs’ season as a ‘massive success’ and believes his side will step it up to another level next season.

* After finishing outside the top eight last year, Payette’s side achieved their pre-season target by finishing seventh in the EPL League table to claim an end of season play-off position.

Injuries to Dalibor Sedlar and Greg Chambers, as well as the absence of Lewis Bell and Ben Morgan early in the campaign, stunted Steeldogs’ progress in the EPL Cup, but a strong run of results in February cemented the team a play-off position before going on a run of nine defeats in their last ten games of the season.

Payette told Grass Roots: “We had a pretty positive start and beat Manchester Phoenix in the War of the Roses, but it was a big blow to have lost players like Lewis Bell and Ben Morgan for the start of the season.

“We had a decent start but then we lost Dalibor (Sedlar) to a groin injury and that made it tough.

“The aimwas to make the play-offs and we achieved that. We competed against sides that spend far more than what we do, but we are slowly getting bigger as a club.

“This squad will be together next year and we believe we have a great chance of winning something.”

Payette, who also admitted that his playing future could be in doubt after picking up a knee injury in the defeat to Guildford last month, also revealed that his biggest achievement this season is seeing how much his players have improved.

“Andrew Hirst has really stepped up this year for us and Ben Morgan for us was phenomenal.

He also singled out Lee Haywood and Greg Wood: And for Lubomir Korhorn to score 50 goals is outstanding.”