Ryan O’Keefe : biography
O’Keefe won the Norm Smith Medal after his side the Sydney Swans beat Hawthorn by 10 points in the 2012 AFL Grand Final, the first Swans player to do so since the medal’s inception in 1979. O’Keefe finished 3rd in the 2012 Bob Skilton Medal after a superb season. He combined magnificently with the likes of Skilton Medal winner Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack, Lewis Jetta, Daniel Hannebery and Craig Bird to become one of the best midfields in the competition.
Ryan O’Keefe was educated at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne, where he was the football team captain. He played for the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup. In 1999, Ezra Bray lived with O’Keefe’s family whilst on an AFL scholarship to attend Essendon Keilor College. Both Bray and O’Keefe were drafted in the 1999 AFL Draft, however Bray never played an AFL game for Geelong, who selected him with the 17th selection. O’Keefe was drafted by Sydney with the 56th selection.
In 2002, O’Keefe’s younger brother Aaron died in a car accident. His family had lost another son at nine months of age to sudden infant death syndrome when Ryan was 5 years old. He also has a younger sister and brother. His father Brian played football for Fitzroy reserves and his grandfather Lionel Ryan played for Footscray in the 1950s.
O’Keefe struggled to maintain his place in the Sydney side in his first few years at the club, but his form improved when he concentrated more on running and less on weight training. He also shifted from defence to a midfield and attack role.
O’Keefe played all 26 games in Sydney’s premiership year of 2005, having a particularly brilliant finals series, and played one of the best games of his career in the Preliminary Final against the Saints. In the same year, he represented Australia in the International Rules series.
|Year||Team||Number||Games||Kicks||Handballs||Total Disposals||Tackles||Marks||Goals||Behinds||Goal Accuracy %||Brownlow Medal Votes|
- TAC Cup Team of the Year 1999
- International Rules Series 2005, 2006 (Jim Stynes Medal 2006)
- Sydney Swans Premiership player 2005
- All-Australian 2006
- Sydney Swans Premiership player 2012
- Norm Smith Medal 2012