Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Peter Patrick Pius Paul Keenan

Known as
Peter Keenan


7 April 1951 (age 71)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 362d
Last game: 31y 115d

Height and weight
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 99 kg

Senior clubs
Melbourne; North Melbourne; Essendon

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 8, 10
North Melbourne: 1
Essendon: 1

Recruited from
Melbourne (1976); North Melbourne (1979); Essendon (1981)

Peter Keenan

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
MelbourneV/AFL1970-1975, 1981-1982131880.6731%8.311.735.0430
North MelbourneV/AFL1976-197851180.3567%7.162.654.9214

AFL: 8,225th player to appear, 513th most games played, 845th most goals kickedMelbourne: 889th player to appear, 102nd most games played, 94th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 679th player to appear, 273rd most games played, 271st most goals kickedEssendon: 862nd player to appear, 447th most games played, 349th most goals kicked

Known evocatively as 'Crackers', ruckman Peter Patrick Pius Paul Keenan was a genuinely larger than life character whose on field humour, histrionics and exhibitionism enlivened many football supporters' Saturday afternoons for well over a decade. Keenan's antics, however, among the most memorably distinctive of which was his habit of stamping on the ground like a stag in rut while waiting to contest a hit-out, sometimes disguised the fact that he was actually rather a good footballer, or at least somewhat better than was often alleged.

Always extremely determined and resolute, Keenan was a capable mark, and his kicking, particularly later in his career as he began to favour the drop punt, was of a high standard. There were arguably more talented ruckman in the league than Keenan, but few who made as much out of their talent as he did.

The highlight of 'Crackers' Keenan's career came in 1977 when he was first ruckman in North Melbourne's premiership team. An ex Assumption College, Kilmore boy, he had played briefly in the VAFA with Assumption Old Collegians before commencing his VFL career in 1970 with Melbourne. In 1976, attracted by the prospect of playing under Ron Barassi, he crossed to North, where he played a total of 51 games in three seasons, kicking 18 goals.

In 1979 and 1980, Keenan played for Essendon, adding 31 games and 17 goals, before returning to Melbourne (where Barassi had also moved) to finish off his career. When he retired from league football in 1982 he had played 213 senior games for the Demons, North Melbourne and Essendon and booted 123 goals. Perhaps not surprisingly, once his playing days were over he went on to enjoy a successful and colourful media career.

Author - John Devaney


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