Career : 1970 - 1981
Debut : Round 4, 1970 vs North Melbourne, aged 20 years, 273 days
Carlton Player No. 819
Games : 208
Goals : 191
Last Game : Round 15, 1981 vs St Kilda, aged 31 years, 343 days
Guernsey Nos. 45 (1970) and 8 (1971 - 1981)
Height : 175 cm (5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 73 kg (11 stone, 7 lbs.)
DOB : July 26, 1949
Premiership Player 1972 and 1979
Best and Fairest 1976 and 1978
Victorian Representative: 1976 and 1978
Team of the Century
One of the founding members of Carlton’s famous “Mosquito Fleet” of the late 1970s and early eighties, Trevor Keogh was a courageous and skilful small man who played more than 200 games for the Navy Blues, including the 1972 and 1979 Grand Final victories. Although standing only 175 cm, Keogh had a remarkable ability to play tall anywhere on the ground. He was a fine mark for his size, and his reading of the play was exceptional.
Born in Hopetoun in central Western Victoria in 1949, Trevor John Michael Keogh grew up in the tiny nearby township of Woomelang, before his parents and their eight children (6 boys, two girls) later settled in Bendigo. The second-youngest of the Keogh boys, Trevor soon proved that he had outstanding ability on the football field when he started playing for his school team, Marist Brothers, at the age of 15.
By his 16th birthday, he was also established in the Under-18 team at Sandhurst Football Club, playing alongside two of his older brothers. In June, 1967, Keogh (not yet 18) was elevated to the seniors for an important game against Kyneton, and responded by being awarded best on ground in a losing side. The following year, playing mainly as a half-forward, he won Sandhurst’s senior best and fairest award, and that brought talent scouts from a number of VFL clubs to his door.
However, under the zoning system then in place, Carlton had first call on Rod’s services. He trained briefly with the Blues in 1969, before deciding not to continue, and returned home to Bendigo. By then, he had left school and found employment with the State Electricity Commission, which coincidentally, soon transferred him to Melbourne. Throughout the latter part of that year, Keogh was spending his working week in Melbourne, then driving to Bendigo on weekends to play with Sandhurst. Partly because of that situation, he decided to have another crack at making Carlton’s list in 1970. The club welcomed him back, and negotiated with Sandhurst to obtain six match permits.
Rod’s form throughout the pre-season practice matches impressed everyone at Princes Park, but the Blues’ playing group was so strong at the time that Keogh could only find a place on the supplementary list. Still, he trained hard, and couldn’t be denied. On Anzac Day Saturday, April 25, 1970, one of the great careers in Carlton’s history began when Keogh played his first senior game against North Melbourne at Princes Park. Wearing guernsey number 45 and sharing the roving duties with Ian Nicoll, Rod put in an eye-catching debut with 16 disposals (including four shots at goal for a return of 1.3) as the Blues won by 19 points.
The following week, Keogh played the last of his permit games when Carlton thumped St Kilda by five goals at Moorabbin, before heading back up the Calder Highway to help drive Sandhurst into the 1970 Bendigo Football League Grand Final against Echuca at QE II Oval. Sandhurst named a star-studded line-up for the decider, including Keogh and three other future Blues in Geoff Southby, Brian Walsh and Paul Hurst, but Echuca played with more spirit and cohesion to snatch the flag by a kick.
Having done all he could for his home club, Keogh relocated permanently to Melbourne in 1971 to sign with Carlton, and signalled his intentions by requesting a change to guernsey number 8. In an impressive first full season, he played 16 games and kicked 12 goals – including a big haul of five against Footscray in round 7 at Waverley. By the end of that year, Rod had 18 senior matches to his credit. He didn’t know it then, but he was about to play a big part in one of the greatest seasons in Carlton’s history.
Keogh had an exceptional year in 1972, playing every one of Carlton’s matches in a new role as a wingman or half-forward flanker. In September, he took part in his first VFL final series, after the Blues won their last eight games straight to finish the home and away rounds two points clear of Richmond on top of the ladder. In an intense contest, the second Semi Final between these traditional rivals ended in a draw. The Tigers convincingly won thereplay, qualifying for the Grand Final and condemning Carlton to a cut-throat Preliminary Final clash against St Kilda. Keogh was prominent against Richmond, and even better the week after, when his team finished all over the Saints to earn another crack at the Tigers on Grand Final day.
Despite having to play a fourth successive final in a month - against a rested Richmond line-up at full strength - the Blues came out absolutely committed in the Grand Final, and hammered their foes by five goals in the highest-scoring decider ever played. Again, Keogh was one of the Blues’ stars, and his three goals helped to set up a massive early lead for Carlton that Richmond was never going to run down. Along with his Premiership medal, Keogh finished 1972 equal with Alex Jesaulenko as Carlton’s top Brownlow Medal vote winner, and made the top three in the Blues’ Best and Fairest, behind only Geoff Southby and Robert Walls.
As his career progressed, Keogh became more and more of a midfield weapon. He played finals football again in four of the next six seasons, while winning the Blues’ Best and Fairest and representing Victoria in 1976 and 1978. By 1979, Rod had notched up more than 180 senior games, and had perfected the art of playing a kick behind the play, where his aerial prowess and elite disposal caused perennial headaches for opposing players and coaches. Beside Keogh, the Blues were blessed with a list of talented, versatile small men including Rod Ashman, Ken Sheldon, Alex Marcou, Vin Catoggio and Jim Buckley. The press had dubbed them Carlton’s “Mosquito Fleet,” and Keogh led them by example.
In 1979, Carlton’s sensational Grand Final victory over Collingwood brought Rod his second Premiership medal, but it also heralded the end of his charmed run of injury-free seasons. Early in the following year, he tore a knee ligament in a mishap at training. From then on he wasn’t able to reach peak fitness, although he did get back on the field for nine games – including the 200th of his career in a big win over St Kilda at Waverley in round 10, 1980.
Always a committed clubman, Rod spent all of 1981 with Carlton’s Reserves team, apart from his 208th and last senior appearance – once more against St Kilda at Waverley, and once more resulting in a big win for a Carlton side well on the way to securing yet another flag. Amid even more September celebrations, Keogh was named Reserves Best and Fairest, as he brought down the curtain on a great career by confirming his retirement.
In 1982 Rod was appointed Under-19 coach, serving in that role for three seasons, before spending four seasons as the Blues’ senior runner. In 1994, Keogh (and his good mate from the days at Sandhurst, Geoff Southby) were both inducted into the Carlton Hall of Fame. Four years later, in May 2000, the same pair were also included in Carlton’s Team of the 20th Century.
FootnotesAdding to his long list of honours at Carlton, Keogh was inducted into the Bendigo Football League Hall of Fame in August, 1996.
Keogh's senior coach during his days at Sandhurst was Nildo Munari, a cousin of Carlton rover Dennis Munari, who played 41 matches for the Blues between 1967 and 1970. By coincidence, when Munari left Carlton to play in Tasmania, Keogh took over his number eight guernsey.
In 2005, Carlton’s long-serving assistant coach and match committee chairman Col Kinnear retired from the club after 19 years of loyal service. Asked to name the player he most respected from that time, Kinnear unhesitatingly nominated Trevor Keogh.
Bendigo All Stars Team (1972-1997).
In 1997 the Bendigo FL compiled their best team for players originating from the BFL VCFL zones for the period from 1972 - 1997, Keogh was named as the ruck-rover in that team.
Career Highlights1972 - Percy Bentley Trophy: 3rd Best & Fairest
1972 - Premiership Player
1973 - 9th Best & Fairest
1974 - Percy Bentley Trophy: 3rd Best & Fairest
1976 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy: Best & Fairest Award
1978 - Robert Reynolds Memorial Trophy: Best & Fairest Award
1979 - B. J. Deacon Memorial Trophy: Best Clubman Award
1979 - Premiership Player
1981 – Reserves Best & Fairest
Milestones50 Games : Round 6, 1973 vs Richmond
100 Games : Round 14, 1975 vs Essendon
150 Games : Round 17, 1977 vs Collingwood
200 Games : Round 10, 1980 vs St Kilda
100 Goals : Round 8, 1976 vs St Kilda