Ryan O’Keefe – Australian Rules Football Player
Born on January 24 1981 in Victoria, Ryan O’Keefe is one of the best key forward players.
He was a member of All-Australian side 2006 and is known for his great fitness and running potential. Being amongst the best players in the AFL, he had a terrific left-foot kick. He was educated at St. Kelvin’s college, Melbourne and was the football team captain. He strived hard to maintain his position in Sydney Swans during the initial years of his career.
Ryan and his fellow retiree Robert Thomson were part of a Grand Final motorcade at MCG. Both the players were given a lap of honour at SCG. There both has shared a great partnership and played a very important role in the success of 2005 and 2012 premiership. He was the Sydney best and fairest in 2009. He is expected to remain in the AFL system in development or coaching role after retirement.
Football Career (2005 to 2014)
Ryan O’Keefe started his career with a Calder Cannons team in TAC cup. In 1999, Ryan was drafted in AFL draft along with his friend Ezra Bray. Ryan was drafted by Sydney with 56th selection. During the first few years, he struggled hard to keep his place on the Sydney side. He concentrated more on running and shifted to midfield and attack from defence role.
In 2005, Ryan played 26 games in Sydney Swan premiership and has a brilliant final series. He played one of the best games of his career against the Saints in Preliminary Final. He also represented Australia in the series of the International Rules.
Ryan O’Keefe made All-Australian selection in 2006 and has a scored more points than any other player. He had a successful series and was honoured with Jim Styles medal for the best Australian player. He played his 100th AFL game in the same year against Richmond.
In 2007, he backed up All-Australian form with a memorable performance in season 07. With a good start to the season in 2008, Ryan played for Victorian teams for one match, where he wore #1 instead of #5.
Following the Grand Final in 2008, he thought to continue his career in Victoria, his birthplace. He knocked back the contract offered by Sydney Swans. As he was not able to find an appropriate swap during the AFL trade week, he signed a contract for a period of 4 years with the Sydney Swans. After an impressive start of play in 2010, he sustained a groin injury which hampered his ability to cover the ground. As a result of which, he had to spend most of his time in the forward line.
Despite of his injury, he managed well to play some impressive series. He returned back to his consistent for in 2011 and spent most of his time in midfield. Later, he played some meaningful roles with 4 goals in the Elimination Final against St. Kilda at Etihad Stadium. Ryan O’Keefe was honoured with the Skilton Medal Count for the 4th time in 2011 season.
In 2012 AFL Grand Final, he won the Norm Smith Medal after Swan Sydney beat Hawthorn. He was the first Swan player who has won the medal since its inception in 1979. He became one of the best midfield players with numerous honours and achievements that include – Skilton Medal, Norm Smith Medal, etc.
Ryan O’Keefe played his final game for Sydney on 28th August 2014. There will be no farewell fame of Ryan, as he will continue playing in the reserve team of Swans who qualified for NEAFL finals. He is yet to make a decision on what he is going to do next year.
Awards And Achievements
- TAC Cup Team of the Year 1999
- International Rules Series 2005, 2006
- Premiership player 2005 Sydney Swans
- Jim Stynes Medal 2006
- All-Australian member 2006
- 4th Bob Skilton Medal 2011
- Sydney Swans Premiership player 2012
- Norm Smith Medal 2012