Kmac – great player, even better bloke

I received a message from fellow Norwood supporter Kevin Hammond last Wednesday night: had I heard about Kieran McGuinness? I replied I had not. He sent me the link about Kieran being seriously injured playing for the Northern Blues on the weekend.

Kieran had fractured three vertebrae in his back in a collision. Thank goodness the club doctor was diligent in that he thought there could be further injuries from Kieran having referred pain in his arm as he walked from the ground. An ambulance was called and Kmac was taken to Epworth Hospital where the vertebrae injury was diagnosed and a steel rod in an operation was placed in Kieran’s back to assist with his recovery.

I readily admit I have a man crush on Kmac (aka Muff) and immediately was hugely concerned upon hearing the news of his injury and started sending messages out to Norwood players and officials (quite rightly I was bagged for not having read the ‘From the Dugout’ blog on the legs site as I would have known about Kmacs injury). The love and respect of the great man was shown that night in how many messages were flying around showing the concern about Kmac’s injury and the future.

I well and truly admit to feeling sick thinking how close it was to further complications and long term permanent damage. Kieran is looking at spending the next three months in a brace covering the majority of his back and top part of his body. It will be a slow process but Kieran is expected to make a full recovery. Quite rightly playing footy again is at the bottom of the priority list, as a few of us mentioned it is a brutal reminder it is just a game and winning and losing isn’t the be all and end all.

Kieran arrived at the parade in 2006 after playing 23 senior games for the Western Bulldogs, having been drafted at number 42 in 2001. It is a mystery to a lot of us how Kmac only played 23 AFL games while a complete scrubber like Troy Chaplin has played over 200 games – hell even Chaplin’s parents would rate Kmac a mile better player (please rate my mandatory Chaplin sledge).

Kmac immediately showed class, poise and an innate ability to read the play superbly as a defender. Kieran travelled overseas in 2007 and upon returning to the parade proved a pivotal part in rescuing the Redlegs from the mire we found ourselves in. With the arrival of Nathan Bassett, Kieran’s footy went to a even higher level – he won the best and fairest in 2011 and was made captain of the club in 2012. It was obvious early in the year we were going to be pretty hard to beat and then Kieran did his knee against Port at Alberton in the last minute of the game. I rushed down on to the ground (again letting emotion get in the way of common sense), it turned out to have a humorous moment in that as officials were about to stop me when, Bass asked me what I thought re. Kmac. They walked away completely bewildered.

Kieran missed the rest of the season – the Redlegs were still well and truly the dominant team and convincingly won the flag against West Adelaide. Kieran as always was total class that night but in talking to him it was not hard to detect there was already a burning desire to play in a premiership side. In 2013 Kieran took a few games to get his touch and timing back but was as reliable as ever in the Grand final against North Adelaide. Back in the Mayors parlour that night the conversation with Kieran was one of immense pride and satisfaction.

An interesting side note happened in 2013 when I was either with or speaking to various officials from three AFL clubs at different times who admitted they wished Kmac was on their list. Kieran in 2014 was simply incredible and at the age of 32 had in my opinion the finest season of his career – his footy and leadership was second to none. He annihilated John Butcher in the Grand Final when we achieved a remarkable win against the Port Power Reserves – see here for my feelings about the win. Kieran’s comment (in the comments section below the article) gives an insight in to what a great bloke he is.

Kieran seeing me in the victory lap the hug and conversation with him is my favourite footy memory of all time.


It is a massive understatement to say we have missed Kieran as a player and person at the Parade. Kieran opted, quite rightly, to return to Melbourne for family reasons after the 2014 flag and took up a development coaching role with the Northern Blues. His impact on several Blues youngsters, do not underestimate. Tom Fields back at South Adelaide after a year at the Blues having Kieran as his mentor cannot speak highly enough of him.

Summing up, Kieran is in my greatest ever Norwood side – a fantastic footballer but, more importantly, an even better bloke. The sporting world’s best wishes and thoughts are with you. I look forward to catching up.


  1. Great article Malcolm.

  2. Lovely Lisa says

    Nice Book.

  3. Manny Koufalakis says

    Loved watching Kieran from the moment he arrived at the Parade.
    One of the most dependable players to play for the Legs that I can recall and his read of the game was just outstanding.
    Very sorry that he had to return to Melbourne but the service he gave to Norwood will always be held in the utmost regard by the faithful.
    All the best Kieran and have a speedy recovery.

  4. What a great write up Malcolm. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery Kmac.
    Look forward to hopefully seeing you back at the parade one day in a coaches role.

  5. Well done Book, great write up

  6. Dave Brown says

    Like you, I’m a great Kmac fan, Rulebook. His creative drive out of defence would cost us the occasional goal but would earn us many more. That we had Zorzi to step up in 2012 goes a long way to explaining the success. Very thankful he will recover – could have been so much worse.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Hoss and LL.Manny spot on.Thanks Malcolm and hope so ,thanks Lawrie and spot on,Dave no doubt that Kmac and Zorza are right up there for best ever recruits coming to the parade.

  8. ??? What a local Footy story, Timeless indeed ???? … Thanks Book!

  9. Some of your best work Book – love the passion!

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Truly uplifting story Book. Timeless picture. All the best to you and Kieran.

  11. Jeff Milton says

    Very sad to hear about the injury but at least he should make a full recovery. Will always be a Norwood great and premiership player.

  12. Martin Rumsby says

    A strong and passionate article Malcolm. I’m sure all Norwod supporters wish Kieran a speedy recovery. A fit Kmac would be a useful addition to the 2016 Norwood side, but alas …

  13. Kieran McGuinness says

    Thanks mate greatly appreciated and I am very happy to be part of that memory. Still in hospital and will be for a little while longer. Going ok but a very long recovery and won’t be putting a foot onto a football oval again. Career over. Happy to say I played my best games for the NFC.

  14. Nick Martin says

    Fantastic person and player..Let’s hope for a full and speedy recovery.

  15. Well done Rulebook, great heading as well!!

  16. Moikal Wheelson says

    Good write, rulebook. We forget at times the human element within sport, good to hear about the person as much as the on field. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, hope the off field input stays strong.

  17. Tom Fields says

    Awesome read rulebook. Couldn’t of summed it up any better…

  18. Thanks for sharing Rulebook. Speedy recovery Kieran.

  19. Daniel Henderson says

    Loved watching K Mac in the red and blue truly awesome footballer, well done on a great career, sad to hear it has ended with a serious injury. I have some grand final videos I can now replay with my sons so that they can also realise what a champion leader, player and bloke he is

  20. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Bec yes def not enough coverage of anything other than afl.Thanks TC,Phil,Milts yes Martin he definitely would be.Thanks Kmac you are a gun in every possible way.Thankx Nick and Fester and honestly I reckon it took me about a second to think of the title.Thanks Moikal,Fieldy good luck re the rest of the year that was a nasty concussion against us.Thanks Raf thanks folks greatly appreciated

  21. Epitomised beautifully…
    A decent guy with empithay great attitude and true captain…
    Mal that’s a great article well done

  22. Epitomised beautifully…
    A decent guy with empithay great attitude and a true captain…someone who you wanted to play for
    Mal that’s a great article well done

  23. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful writing Malcolm. Terrible injury but glad to hear he will recover.
    Love the photo of you and Kieran. Plenty of love for your man crush in that!

    Right up there with your very best Chaplin sledges too. Though they could fill a book!

  24. kMAC is one of my Norwood heroes . It is sad to hear that he has been hurt.
    Thanks for the article Rulebook.

  25. Great tribute Rulebook. Though I reckon the Troy Chaplin sledge is a deliberate out of bounds. The bloke stood up last night.

  26. Schmaaly says

    Good read Malc, wish the best for Kmac

  27. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Brent greatly appreciated.Thanks Luke yes I well and truly admit I love the photo,PB as well re Chaplin I was serious in that,Kmac is a mile better than,Chaplin,Dawson and many others but clubs go over board re size so ironic in that the dogs lacked a key back men who could organize and provide elite leadership for over a decade and they delisted the guy who was perfect for the role.Thanks Farmboy and thank you number 42 the messages and concern continue showing what a well respected and loved ma,Kmac is at the parade

  28. Willow Wilson says

    Nice work Book, there was always calmness and a no-fuss approach to Kieran’s work in the backlines that gave Legs supporters confidence that things were under control. Glad to hear he will make a full recovery.
    On the Chaplin front, how much of the intense dislike is on field vs off field (footballer vs bloke)?

  29. Mahatma Coat says

    The best you’ve ever laid finger to keyboard ‘Book. That’s a brilliant photo. Norwood’s victory that day is my favourite football moment. I think the Legs may be missing Kieran’s influence at the moment. Did he ever nominate for the draft after returning to Norwood following his o/s stint? I’d noted the Chaplin sledge before you noted it yourself.

  30. Great stuff, Rulebook.
    Best wishes to Kieran in his recovery.

  31. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Willow both no time for him as a player or person and let’s say there are people with in the footy industry with there comments privately which makes my comments re Chaplin look like praise of the highest order.Mahatma it is either 2011 or 2012 where several clubs considered drafting,Kmac mystifying and bewildering that they didn’t and thanks for your kind words thanks,Smokie

  32. Great read. Agree 100%.

  33. Great photo Book. We tend to forget that this can be a dangerous game, and that knees and hammies aren’t the only injuries.

    I wish him well. He’ll be in demand as a coach, mentor etc in the seasons to come.

  34. Well written, all the best in recovery.

  35. A great career. I’m sure life post playing will be just as rewarding for such a quality individual

  36. Rulebook, I must admit that i hardly know the Kmac. What I do know is that he has the respect of all around him. That is a given. And your words would be humbly received by the great man

  37. Campbell says

    Great article Malcolm. A real shame that Kieran got injured like this, all the best with the recovery process

  38. Mr. Smooth says

    Great write up rulebook

  39. Steven Ronson says

    Another fine post – agree 100% with all you have submitted – Kmac brought class, poise and stability to the club – dare I say he was the spine of the team – and his departure was understandable but lamented – we missed him last year and we miss him now – would love him to one day and become part of the coaching squad – a serious legend of the club

  40. Riverboy says

    Great write up Mal

  41. Good stuff Rulebook, cheers for helping with Britannia around About.


  42. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks AD,Mickey v much so.Thanks Scott,Raj yes certainly a quality individual.Neags v well put and spot on.Thanks Campbell and Mr Smooth.Steven he is missed greatly as a player and person at the parade
    out thoughts are just about his and Georgia’s well being the family is welcome back at any time.
    Thanks Riverboy and Will no prob glad I could help thanks folks greatly appreciated

  43. Bill Drodge says

    Great article about a true Man of Norwood!

    Thinking back, was Bassett’s game plan designed around Kmac’s skill set?

    Love how you’re always promoting the Troy Chaplin appreciation society :)

  44. Geoffrey Wilson says

    Great stuff Malcolm, two great Norwood People.

  45. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Bill I don’t think so re Bass he is naturally defensively minded but no doubt what so ever that Kmac was a vital part of his game plan( we must remember that Kmac was injured in 2012) and thank you re Chaplin I do my best thanks,Geoff and the great man appreciated the lift from,Louise back to the parade after the game in 2014.

  46. Great stuff r book agree with every word and as a tiger fan I enjoy you sledging,Chaplin

  47. Donald Gore says

    Enjoyable read couldn’t agree more absolutely flabbergasted how,Keiran is not at least a 200 afl game player

  48. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Smiley appreciated and Donald yes it s bewildering to say the least thank you

  49. Sam McEwen says

    Loved watching Kmac destroy his Port Adelaide AFL opponents. Mystifying why he wasn’t playing AFL.
    Great article Mal. Hope all the best for Kieren

  50. One of the best you have put up Mal. Wishing Keiren a full and speedy recovery.

  51. Stephen wood says

    Fantastic write up rule book! Your best work for a while

  52. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Smack,Rook and Woodsy.Kieran just rang me on behalf of Kmac and Georgia they have been overwhelmed with the concern and best wishes from every one at the parade in particular and the sporting public thank you for the footy almanac ! ( it is the most appropriate title of any article I have written )

  53. James Thomas says

    Terrific appraisal of K Mac a resolute and integral part of Redleg history .A speedy recovery for Kieran and many thanks for your commitment and courage displayed for all to see when you pulled on the blue & red jumper .

  54. Hope he recovers after his injury.

    He was one of the best players for Norwood and the SANFL in the last few years and one we do miss. Certainly glad he ended his Norwood playing career with a thrilling SANFL Grand Final win.

  55. Rick Neagle says

    Certainly a candidate for Hall of Fame Book. Great reader of the game in the back half. Reminded me of Bruce Winter in his positioning and marking ability.

  56. Once again Malcolm a wonderful article on another norwood great ….. read this back in 2016 …any news on how kmac is now? 2014 sweetest victory..

  57. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Have spoken to Kmac today he is going well back to about 85 per cent mobility which realistically is a great result he is able to go for a run,swim play with his kids basically living a normal life.Kmac and Georgia thank every one for there concen and well wishesi look forward to catching up in July
    ( Neags a monty )

  58. Greg Moulton says

    I got the pleasure of knowing Muff really well. I simply have never ever heard a bad word about him! Onfield always knew where to go and what to do,off field when he spoke, every one listened. Again, well played Malcolm!

  59. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Moults well said yep never a bad word said about,Muff universally respected thank you

  60. Sorry to just read about KMac’s injury. I trust he healed well. The great man was a smooth mover and an excellent general in Norwood’s back lines. Most of his plays appeared to be effortless, much like Mark Waugh batting for Australia. In fact you could describe him as “poetry in motion”. Those 3 premierships in a row were a real treat – especially knocking off the Power Reserves. Keep the terrific profiles coming RB.

  61. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I spoke to KMac today re ringing him to renew his NFC Past Players and Officials membership he is going great guns and in reality physically is ahead of even the most optimistic original health prediction
    Champion !

  62. Luke Reynolds says

    Great to hear Malcolm!

  63. Fantastic news Malcolm. We sure could have used him in last years grand final. Anyway, it’s always great news to hear past players doing well.

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