Q&A: Norm Berryman, former All Black

Norm Berryman says he has no plans to return to New Zealand. Photo / APN
Norm Berryman says he has no plans to return to New Zealand. Photo / APN

Q: Greetings, Norm. How's it going over there in Perth?

Yeah, pretty good. My babies - at least my big three [18-year-old twin daughters Cairo and Kaya and 16-year-old son Terrell, aka Mistah Man] - have finished school and I've got three [Tatiana, 10, Laytarjae, 7, and Shyah, 5] at primary school. It's good my babies are getting bigger because they're taking on more responsibility. It frees me and Mum [Lena] up for a few outings.

Q: What job are you doing these days?

I drive a forklift around a working yard. It's nice and cruisey, about 10 minutes from our home in Banksia Grove, north of Perth. I get to pick my babies up and play with them after school. Mate, I've put on a bit of weight since my rugby days so I'm cuddly for my kids.

Q: You just turned 40 in April, so fair enough. Do you still play a bit of footy?

I run out for my old club Kalamunda every so often and do a spot of coaching here and there.

Q: Are you in the backs?

Oh yeah, cuz. I've still got two digits on my back rather than one.

Q: You must be reasonably fit then?

Aw, not really. The skills overtake the fitness, you know. I just sit back and pass the ball around now [chuckles].

Q: When did you move to Aussie?

About seven or eight years ago. We went to Sydney first for about three years then came across here. Before that we spent three years in France at Frank Bunce's old club. It was awesome. My three little ones learned French there. They loved it.

Q: Can you still get decent kai in Perth?

Sure. There's even a place called the Kiwi Shop nearby where you can get stuff like kina, paua, flounder and peanut slabs.

Q: Where is your All Black jersey? [Berryman played one test as a substitute against South Africa at Durban in 1998]

It's on a hanger in the wardrobe, next to all my other jerseys.

Q: Do you ever give it a run?

Yeah, she gets worn now and again, only when I want to rub it in to my mates.

Q: Give us the oil on hitchhiking home from an All Black camp after you and coach John Hart didn't see eye to eye?

That's 100 per cent bang on. It was an interesting time ... but that wasn't even the fun bit. That was getting home and wearing it from my mother. Boy, if you'd had your recorder on then, bud, you would've made some money.

Q: Did the guy who gave you a lift get a shock?

It was bizarre but fun. He'd just broken up with his lady and was in a bit of a bad way, but he took me all the way from Auckland to Whangarei so I didn't have to jump out and get another lift.

Q: Do you follow the All Blacks much?

I've been watching a bit. They're playing some great football and there seem to be plenty of brilliant young guys coming through. They run a beautiful team structure these days.

Q: Any plans to return to New Zealand?

Nah, we're pretty set here for a while. My big kids are comfortable and the little ones are settled at school. I miss my family, obviously. I'd like to say hi to my Dad, who's down in Huntly; I love and miss him heaps. Also to my family and old friends up north - we miss you fullas.

- NZ Herald

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