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Keras returns home

Jordan Keras has won countless individual accolades in his football career but the former Geelong Falcon has returned home hunting team success with the VFL Cats.

Over the past two years on the Gold Coast, Keras became a household name in the NEAFL but had always planned on returning to play in his home town.

“Geelong was always going to be home for me,” Keras said.

“I was always planning on coming home so after the year ended there wasn’t really any other clubs that I was interested in going to.”

With a few former Falcons teammates in the squad, Keras had no trouble fitting in to preseason training.

“There is a lot of young boys here and I knew a couple of players already before coming in so they made the transition really easy,” he said.

Keras also managed to fit a wedding into his preseason preparation, tying the knot with Bethany Dangerfield, sister of star Cat Patrick, in early January.

With his off-field life on track, the 24-year-old is now ready to reignite his VFL career.

Keras has experienced VFL football before with both Werribee (2012-13) and Footscray (2014-15) but only managed a handful of games due to a variety of injury issues.

Despite not being able to reach his full potential at state level during that time, the midfielder was lucky enough to play in a GFL premiership with St. Joseph’s in 2015.

Keras then made the move to the Gold Coast to complete his university degree and was picked up by NEAFL club Southport.

He adapted quickly and emerged as one of the competition’s leading players, finishing runner up in the Sharks’ 2016 best & fairest.

The prolific ball winner then took his game to a new level in 2017, claiming the Southport best & fairest award whilst earning a place in the NEAFL Team of the Year.

He then capped off his remarkable season by taking out the 2017 NEAFL MVP as the competition’s best player, highlighting how far he had come in only two years.

“I think my first year I was just getting used to playing up there but last year was probably the best season of football I’ve played,” Keras said.

“It was nice to play in the NEAFL, it is a growing competition and playing away from home was a good challenge in itself.”

Keras played all 18 of the Sharks’ games in 2017 and averaged 35 disposals (16 contested), seven tackles, nine clearances and five marks.

Despite the strong form of the Sharks’ vice-captain throughout the season, his side were unable to win consistently and finished the season in second last place on the NEAFL ladder.

“It was a bit disappointing to lose so many games for Southport and individually it is hard to talk about your success when your team do so poorly,” Keras said.

“I was lucky enough to win some awards up there and taking that form into this year will be the key so hopefully we can get some team success off that.”

Keras’ hunger for success was made even greater as he could only watch on when his former local club St. Joseph’s won the GFL premiership last season.

He played in the 2015 premiership with the club but watching on from the side lines has him hunting the ultimate prize at the Cats this year.

“It was good to watch them, it is always nice to see your local club do really well,” Keras said.

“I was a bit jealous because of the lack of success we had at Southport but I suppose that’s footy.

“The older you get, the more you realise how important it is to have success more than worrying about yourself so I’m hoping we can achieve the same at Geelong this year.”

The 24-year-old is confident that he and the Cats can have success in 2018 and is excited by the talent that the VFL squad boasts.

“I reckon it is pretty exciting because we have a good list of young AFL players with some really experienced VFL players that should complement each other well,” he said.

Keras has been able to get to know many of the AFL players that could be his teammates in 2018, taking part in training sessions with the AFL squad.

“I trained once with the AFL boys and I will do the next few main sessions with them,” Keras said.

“I will try and get the most out of them and learn as much as I possibly can off those older experienced boys to bring that experience back to the VFL.”

Whilst he has been fortunate enough to train with the AFL side, Keras was unlucky not to find himself on an AFL list after his stellar 2017 season.

Touted as a potential mature-age recruit in the lead-up to last year’s draft, Keras was disappointed not to hear his name read out, but he has moved on fast.

“It was a little bit disappointing at the end of last year but when you get older you have more of a level-headed approach and you don’t expect too much until your name is read out

Keras still has the passion to play at the top level but his focus has shifted to the VFL for season 2018.

“I suppose if that opportunities arises this year it would be great but I am really happy where I am,” he said.

The VFL Cats will kick off their 2018 campaign with a series of practice matches beginning on March 11.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs