COLLINGWOOD MAGIPIES FC
Born: 14 April 1990
Junior Club: -
Senior Club: -
Schools: Marist College (Ashgrove)
Regional Selection: -
Queensland Selection: U18 (2008)
Draft Details: Unregistered Player Selection - 2009 Rookie Draft
AFL Debut: -
Jumper Number: 44
AT A GLANCE: Lachlan Keeffe, like Jake Orreal, is the amazing AFL story waiting to happen. A Gympie teenager who had never played an unofficial AFL game until October 2007, was signed by AFL club Collingwood less than two months later. The then 202cm 17-year-old, who had excelled in soccer, middle-distance running and cricket, was snapped up by the Pies shortly after he’d finished Year 12 and a three-year boarding stint at Brisbane’s Marist College, Ashgrove. It was a sheer recruiting punt on his enormous athletic ability. "I really can't believe it," he said at the time. "I'd never dreamed of anything like this ... it's not every day a kid from Gympie who has never really played AFL football is offered a contract by an AFL club. I've been to a few AFL games at the Gabba and one at the MCG a few years back so I understand the basics but I've really followed it that closely.”
Keeffe had never kicked an AFL football seriously until October 2007 when he attended a talent identification screening day run by AFL Queensland. So impressed was AFLQ Talent Manager Mark Browning he invited him back for a series of weekly training sessions under the League's Rookie Search program. He also played "about five" games for Marist College in an AFLQ independent schools program. Yet, unbeknown to Keeffe, he was already in the sights of Collingwood. Recruiting Manager Derek Hine had been watching the super-athletic youngster through the Brisbane private schools soccer competition as early as May this 2007. Said Hine: “He's a terrific athlete. I think that the area that was really encouraging us, apart from his obvious physical attributes, Lachlan's father Matthew is tall and is a nice shape, we think that Lachlan, at 202cm, has really got the scope to grow more," he said. Keeffe was signed by Collingwood under a rarely-used AFL rule which allows AFL clubs to sign players outside the normal draft system if they've not been registered with a club at any level for three years. It was a repeat of the situation which saw another former Marist College student, Jake Orreal, snapped up by the Sydney Swans. He moved to Melbourne in January 2008 for a settling-in year before officially becoming a 2009-10 Collingwood rookie at the 2009 AFL Rookie Draft.
Keeffe, a Gympie and Wide Bay representative soccer player, chose Collingwood over Brisbane and Hawthorn because "they seemed like a really professional organization". He spent most of the 2008 season playing with Old Trinity in the Victorian Amateur competition, spliced with several appearances with the Queensland U18 side, and made his VFL debut with Collingwood in August 2008 under former Pies captain Gavin Brown, playing the last five games of the season. In 2009, officially a member of the Collingwood list, he was a fixture in the VFL side, playing 19 games in total. Originally selected as a ruck prospect, he found his home at centre half back and impressed none other than coach Mick Malthouse with his huge potential. So much so that plenty of good judges at the club were tipping that some time in 2010 the now 204cm giant might even get a chance to play at AFL level and write the final chapter in what already is a remarkable story.