Liam Bertrand’s inspirational journey

Liam Bertrand following a best-on-ground performance in Cranbourne's round 1 reserves loss to Cheltenham. 401580 Picture: JONTY RALPHSMITH.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Liam Bertrand remembers it clearly.

A kick in the guts, but one which was a long time coming.

Ahead of the 2022 finals series, the reserves defender was dropped from Cranbourne’s seconds side, with the coaches citing his fitness as the issue.

A popular member of the club, Bertrand had no footy to play which compelled him to change.

“I had a sore back, and wasn’t able to run so I thought ‘after the season I might knuckle down and get myself off the drink and into good habits,” Bertrand said.

“All my good mates played in the twos so that hurt me a lot.

“I thought if I wanted to play with them, I have to work harder.”

“I went away for a couple of months, stayed off the piss and decided I was going to go to the gym everyday.”

Fast-forward to April 2024, Bertrand has lost 42 kilograms, is running through the midfield of the seconds team, and has aspirations to play with his brother, Jordan, in the senior team.

His hard work has also resulted in co-captaincy of the reserves this season, alongside the long-serving Jay Mills.

Those around both Cranbourne Football Club and Merinda Club Cricket Club label his journey inspirational, with several club sources praising his dedication and extra training.

A key step in Bertrand’s journey was winning the reserves best and fairest last season – a goal of his after moving from fullback to centre half back.

A nightshift worker for a commercial vinyl flooring company, Bertrand typically awakens at about 3.30pm, adding an hour gym session before his footy and cricket training sessions.

For a long period in summer, the footy/cricket overlap sees him training five times per week, as well as playing a game of cricket.

Bertrand went sober from October 2022 until April 2023 which helped the early stages of his weight loss, before undergoing Body Fit training, which got the 23-year-old down from 112 to 99 kilograms.

Bertrand also consulted a nutritionist during this period.

It’s the first time Bertrand has been under 100 kilograms since he was 17-years-old.

Now sitting at 97 kgs, Bertrand is hoping to continue his fitness journey by slimming down further, and is confident he has made the lifestyle changes to keep the size off, regularly weighing in to keep himself accountable.

“I can’t even stand gaining three kilos now, it’s just in my mindset,” he said.

“If you gain three kilos, you’ve got to work bloody hard to get it off.

“I’m usually the kid who would do alright for five to six weeks and then once I see a good result, I waste it all and go back to how I was but I think it’s been a good effort and there has been a lot of help from family and friends to keep it off.”