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Farm life a good tonic for AFL shutdown: Perryman

About eight o’clock every morning Perryman gets himself out of bed and hears what his dad Max thinks needs doing around the farm.

“We get straight into it,” Perryman said.

“I think he is enjoying it at the moment. I haven’t been home at this time of the year for a good few years. It is good to be able to help him out putting the crop in.”

That means many hours on the tractor as well as time spent feeding sheep (there are about 1200 ewes on the Perryman farm) and helping prepare cattle for sale. Fencing is also on the agenda, but that’s not exactly fun even for someone who loves the farm.

Perryman (right) celebrates a goal in round one, before the season shutdown.

Perryman (right) celebrates a goal in round one, before the season shutdown.Credit:Getty Images

“There is always something going on around here,” Perryman said.

In between work, the emerging Giant has been squeezing in football training, helped by being able to have a kick and a run around with his three brothers, Nick, Ed and Joe.

The siblings are handy footballers too, with Nick and Harry playing alongside each other in back-to-back premierships with Collingullie in 2014 and 2015.

Perryman was 16 in the second flag when they came from fifth on the ladder to win the flag, while Ed has played in the NEAFL and Joe the Giants’ junior academy teams. The crew has been heading to nearby Osborne to train, with Perryman acknowledging he needed to build his fitness when he arrived at the Giants, having been a classic country footballer with a laid-back outlook.

“It took me a couple of years to adjust to the training but after a couple of years you do feel it on game day,” Perryman said.

And his hard work is beginning to show. In his most recent match in round one against Geelong he kicked four goals and earned 10 coaches’ votes in just his 37th game.

“It is a weird one. You go all right and you don’t know when you are coming back,” Perryman said.

The standout match has him in a four-way tie for the Coleman, giving him too good an opportunity to annoy his teammates to waste.

“I’m actually not complaining at all, to be honest. Drag it on a bit longer so I can talk it up around here,” Perryman said.

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His plan to hold on to the lead is simple.

“Get in to that forward line and don’t handball. That is what the rest of them do,” Perryman said.

He came out of his shell last season, playing 19 games. He proved his toughness in round one when he went low and hard for a contested ball against the Bombers’ Patrick Ambrose and ended up with a punctured lung. He played out the remainder of the second quarter.

He missed the next seven matches before returning in round nine to play the rest of the season.

“Obviously your first few years are pretty tough trying to crack into that side – and I probably wasn’t real fit in those first few years – so that was the main focus for it, to work on my fitness towards the back end of last year. I reckon playing finals gives you more confidence,” Perryman said.

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Perryman not only played in finals, he played well as he shut down Collingwood’s prime mover Steele Sidebottom in the preliminary final to help the Giants cause an upset to move into the grand final, which they eventually lost in a tired performance against the rampaging Richmond.

“It was an unreal day, that one,” Perryman said.

“It was an unreal couple of weeks. Everyone looks back on the granny and we did get pumped that day but for the three weeks before that it was an unreal feeling around the club. It makes everyone want to get back there again and do it all over again.”

When that will be, no one knows. But the signs of a season restart remain promising.

Perryman would be lying, however, if he said he was anxious about a resumption.

“I miss playing footy on the weekend, but I am actually quite loving it, to be honest, back here on the farm,” Perryman said.

“Everyone is struggling and that, but I am one of the lucky ones.”

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