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O'Keefe 'to play out career' with Swans

By Adrian Warren 16/01/2009 06:49:02 PM Comments (0)

Sydney forward Ryan O'Keefe believes he will probably see out his AFL career with the Swans and play beyond the duration of his new contract after he failed to get traded to a Melbourne club.

Late last year O'Keefe finally agreed to a new four-year contract after initially looking to be traded back to his home city of Melbourne.

The 190-centimetre left-footer, who played in Sydney's 2005 premiership team, wanted to move closer to family, but re-signed with the Swans after they were unable to make a deal with Hawthorn or Carlton during trade week.

Renowned for his extraordinary work-rate, O'Keefe, who turns 28 later this month, believed he would now probably finish his career at Sydney.

"I think I'm here for the rest of my career," O'Keefe said.

"Hopefully I can play a few years after the end of the contract if the body holds up and the fire is still in the belly.

"If I'm good enough and the club wants me, why can't I still play?"

The long-serving Swans forward was adamant the suggestion he had been looking to leave the club had not damaged his relationship with his Sydney team-mates.

"The guys have been really good, they've been really supportive through the whole process, they've been great," O'Keefe said.

Reflecting on the scrutiny his negotiations attracted, O'Keefe said: "There was a lot of attention about the whole process and what went on."

"But it was an experience I had to go through and have now come through and I'm really happy where I am and looking forward to the season ahead and I think everyone at the club is really happy with the outcome as well."

An All-Australian representative in 2006, O'Keefe has tallied 164 senior games since making his debut in 2000.

He was promoted to the club's leadership group for the first time last year.

"I just want to keep playing consistent footy and playing my role in the team and being one of the older more experienced players, to provide good leadership to the young guys," said O'Keefe prior to any decision about the composition of Sydney's 2009 leadership group.

Finalists for the last six seasons, Sydney head into 2009 with a list that includes five players over 30 and a smattering of youngsters.

O'Keefe was adamant Sydney would remain a legitimate finals and premiership contender.

"I think we blooded a few youngsters last year and we showed we were still capable of playing finals footy," O'Keefe said.

"I definitely think we're still going to be up there and I think if anyone is going to write us off, it's probably going to be to their peril."

With premiership winning forward Nick Davis delisted and key forwards Barry Hall and Michael O'Loughlin over 30, O'Keefe was looking for youngsters Patrick Veszpremi, Ed Barlow and Heath Grundy to step up this year.

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