Reaching Bulldogs century a dream come true for Verrier

Saturday, July 13, 2019 - 11:20 AM by Chris Pike

THE Verrier family have been lifelong South Fremantle supporters and it's now a dream come true for Steve to reach 100 games this Saturday night with the Bulldogs and he hopes younger brother Brendan can get back to achieve the feat as well.

The Verrier brothers grew up bleeding red-and-white with their father a passionate South Fremantle man his whole life so they grew up watching the Bulldogs play, supporting them and then dreaming of playing with them.

They had their own local hero in South Fremantle games record holder Marty Atkins to look up to as well and then having come through the ranks, they enjoyed great success at colts level sharing the 2011 premiership together with Brendan remaining for the 2012 flag too.

Steve wasn’t there for that premiership because he was in the AFL system at Richmond trying to live out his dream as a professional footballer, but when that came to an end he was never going to play anywhere else but back at South Fremantle.

And ever since returning, Verrier has cemented himself as one of the best versatile players in the competition and now this Saturday night against Perth at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park, he reaches 100 games with South Fremantle. 

"My dad was a mad South Fremantle supporter, we grew up watching South Freo and it's something you dream of as a kid to even play one game at South Freo. So to now play 100 games is a massive achievement for me. It's something that I've always wanted to do and now we're here so it's pretty exciting," Verrier said.

"The club is a massive part of my life and my families. It makes it a lot bigger when you have your brother playing with you as well and we also had a lot of success coming through the club in the colts so you always have bonds with the boys you share that with. 

"To now have similar success in the league would be absolutely massive for me. it's a massive part of my life, I've been down here for eight years now and I was always pretty happy to come back after my stint in the AFL. 

"I was never going anywhere else and I always wanted to come back here. It's a massive part of my life now and I wouldn’t change a thing."

To now know that his name will forever be on his locker at South Fremantle and that he'll always be part of history as a 100-game player is something that Verrier is deservedly proud of.

"It's definitely a proud moment to reach 100 games and to know my name will be on the locker forever," Verrier said.

"I've always looked up to Marty Atkins who has spent a lot of his life down in Kwinana too and he's played the most games at the club so for me to have my name on the locker is a pretty proud moment. 

"Then I reflect on the guys I've played with too and Higgo just played his 100th game for the club and I look at someone like Ash who I played a lot with, he played over 200 games. To now know that I've achieved 100 games as well like those sort of guys have is something I'm pretty proud of."

Verrier's younger brother Brendan has also played some terrific football as a wingman over his 76-game career to date, but it's currently on hold for a second time due to concussion symptoms.

While concussion is something not to be messed with and nobody in the Verrier family at the club will take any chance, Steve does hope his brother can get back to play and reach the 100-game mark himself.

"It's something he would love to achieve as well and a couple of years ago we had played the same exact same amount of games so that would have been nice if that continued and we could have reached it together, but it wasn’t to be," Verrier said. 

"Brendan is struggling again at the moment with some concussion problems and he has a lot to weigh up if it's the right thing for him to continue or not. 

"He is hoping to get back again in a couple of weeks but with concussions, it's just an indefinite injury and it's not something you want to mess around with because it's about more than just football. 

"He's still got 24 games to go to get there and I'm sure he'd love to do it and hopefully he gets the chance to."

Whether it's playing attacking or lockdown roles all over the field, Verrier has proven himself equally effective forward, back or in the midfield and that's why he remains one of South Fremantle's great weapons heading towards another finals campaign in 2019.

He celebrates game 100 this Saturday night against Perth at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park, but what his ultimate focus on is backing up that colts success at league level having been so close over the past three years.

"It's been pretty disappointing the last three years to finish up in preliminary finals so it is definitely a driving force for us to go further," Verrier said. 

"But then with the experience we had with the guys leaving at the end of last year, it was going to be a different year and we didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. 

"But we've come out flying this year and a lot of younger guys have stepped, and we've had a really good year so far even though the past couple of weeks have been tough. 

"The drive to get past that prelim final is definitely a goal of ours ultimately but we can't take anything for granted and just want to make finals firs. But we will be pretty motivated if we get there."

Verrier is in some tremendous form at present, possibly the best and most consistent of his career, with spending the majority of his time in the midfield with his body fully healthy to allow him a good run at it.

That's included 53 possessions over the last two weeks despite them being losses to West Coast and Claremont, and Verrier is enjoying the faith coach Todd Curley continues to place in him.

"The big thing is having the confidence in my body and myself, and just believing in my own ability to play footy. I had an interrupted pre-season because of the knee that I hurt in the Subiaco game last year so it took me a while to get started up this year," Verrier said.

"I also got pretty sick just before Round 1 and I lost a few kilos because of that so it was a bit interrupted early on but I'm glad I've had the help of my teammates and the staff at the club to get up and going. 

"And then for Todd to trust me to play in Round 2 was huge when I still was pretty crook. I've then just worked my way back into it and Todd's always believed I have a lot of good footy in front of me and I take my hat off to Todd for trusting me and giving me a crack in the midfield now too, which I'm enjoying."

Knowing that he's capable of fulfilling roles all over the field, Verrier doesn’t necessarily have a favourite position on the ground and is happy to go wherever the team needs him week after week.

"That's the thing, I'm more than happy to play wherever Todd wants to use me and it's a big thing we are driving at the club for players to be able to play in multiple positions so that we can always change things during games whenever we need to," he said.

"There's no real favourite position, but I am really enjoying the midfield at the moment and I've also been playing a bit of the forward role that I've been playing this year. I'm enjoying the midfield at the moment but whether it's forward, back or mid it doesn’t faze me as long as I'm helping the team."

Following the departure of senior players at the end of last season like Ryan Cook, Shane Hockey, Ashton Hams, Jarrod Parry, Ben Saunders and Cory Dell'Olio, Verrier has also tried to step up in the leadership stakes in 2019 as well and he hopes he's had some sort of impact by doing so.

"Guys like Kade Stewart and Haiden Schloithe have become a big part of the leadership group now and it's kind of the players around my age who need to step up now and pick up the roles that Cooky did so well and guys like Hocks, Josh Pullman and Jarrod Parry," Verrier said.

"It's a big driving force for us to step up into those leadership roles around the club especially with how many young guys we have. I've tried to step up in terms of my leadership and hopefully I've been able to do that to help out the team the best I can."