Career not yet over for O’Keefe


If you were just a casual follower of the game, you could be forgiven for thinking that Sydney champion Ryan O’Keefe dropped off the face of the Earth.

The 286-game midfielder is somewhere in football oblivion after falling out of favour with coach John Longmire at the start of the season.

But it has been a sharp decline that no one saw coming.

In 2013, O’Keefe played all 25 games for the Swans in a season that included career-best numbers in tackles, clearances and contested disposals.

During the pre-season most people would have thought that O’Keefe would be an integral part of the Swans midfield this season.

But after playing the first four rounds of the season, O’Keefe has not been seen in the AFL since and has been forced to toil away in the NEAFL competition with the reserves side.

His form back at NEAFL level has been superb and has averaged well over 30 disposals for the season while posting high tackle numbers and influencing the scoreboard.

Yet still he appears to be miles off a recall into the AFL side with Longmire opting to blood youngsters in Jake Lloyd, Dean Towers and Harry Cunningham.

But although it appears that O’Keefe’s time at the Swans is fast approaching the end, he should not be ruled out just yet.

O’Keefe is a quality player and if there is one thing we know, it is that he stands up in big games.

If you need any proof of this, watch the replay of the 2012 premiership win against Hawthorn when he claimed the Norm Smith Medal after collecting 28 disposals and a massive 15 tackles.

If the Swans happened to cop a few injuries to their engine room at this late stage of the season, I would look no further than O’Keefe.

He adds plenty of experience and a hardened body which can be invaluable come finals time.

Regardless of if that happens or not, his perseverance and professionalism this year has been commendable and I hope he finds a new home next season.

The decision to continue with his football will be up to him but I believe he still has plenty to offer for a club looking to top up their midfield experience or add leadership.


TWITTER – @jclark182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. Keiran Croker says

    At 33 years of age it will be interesting to see if Peebles decides to continue on. I think he would be a good fit for a developing team as player and development coach.
    I agree if Kennedy or Parker was injured I’d opt for him as a replacement.

  2. I wonder if Longmire and co are channeling the legendary Hawthorn defender David O’Halloran.

    Same deal: D.O’H would kick the dew off the park in the early game for the year then come finals time, find himself in the starting line-up.

    Played in the 1976 and 1983 Premierships for the Sqwaks. May he rest in peace.

  3. With the speed of modern AFL players don’t go over the hill any more, they drop off the cliff. Darren Glass went from outstanding last year to unable to keep up within 10 games. Luke McPharlin has done the same, but the promise of finals keeps him hobbling on.
    Dean Cox was more of a steady decline starting in 2013, as is Matthew Pavlich. Still adequate but no longer game changers.
    Ross has had the Dockers in the pressure cooker for too long now, and the meat is starting to go stringey and fall apart.

  4. JACKSON: the Bendigo Pioneers flogged the NT under-18 boys the other Sunday.
    I was walking back home through the Queen Eliz. Oval after attending a Bendigo FNL meet and watched for a quarter.
    Has the NT talent dried up or is it just a skinny year ?? The Pios are no world beaters.

  5. Jackson Clark says

    Yeah it was certainly a disappointing result for the Territory boys. I couldn’t make it to the game but the score line certainly speaks for itself. I think if there is any justification to the result it is that the Thunder played a very young side with only three players that are unable to play again next year. A couple of the 15 and 16 year old boys that played would have struggled against the bigger bodied Pioneers boys. A few of the Territory’s best players were unavailable due to playing for the NT Thunder NEAFL side that same weekend. A couple of others couldn’t make it due to schooling commitments. But I agree that it’s not a good look.

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