In 2019, after completing 48 years of continuous service to the Australian football industry, Merv Keane was awarded AFL Life Membership.

  • Playing height: 185cm

  • Playing weight: 82.5kg

  • Recruited from: Wycheproof

  • Guernsey number at Richmond: No. 40 and No. 18

  • Senior games at Richmond (1972-1984): 238

  • Goals: 36

  • Triple Richmond Premiership Player (1973, 1974, 1980)

  • Member, Tigers’ Team of the Century

  • Richmond Hall of Fame

  • Richmond Life Member

  • AFL Life Member

A strong mark, good kick, ice-cool under pressure, brave, fiercely determined, and the consummate team man. Keane was worth his weight in gold to Richmond throughout a stellar 13-season league career with the Club. He played mainly in the back pocket or as a half-back, but also was used particularly effectively at times as a ruck-rover. He carved out an extremely impressive reputation as a close-checking, ever-reliable defender with a great capacity for curbing the brilliance of the most dangerous of opposition forwards.

In an era where Richmond was blessed with some of the best players to ever pull on a boot for the Club, Merv Keane might not have attracted the attention of his superstar teammates among those outside Tigerland’s four walls, but make no mistake, he was held in the highest esteem by those in the Yellow and Black inner sanctum.


He went about his football business with minimum fuss, but maximum efficiency, and very rarely had his colours lowered on the field of battle.

Keane almost ended up playing for Melbourne after coming down from Victorian country club Wycheproof, when he joined a group of aspiring footballers, who he thought were young Tiger hopefuls on a training run. He subsequently discovered they were Melbourne—not Richmond players—when they returned to the MCG rather than Punt Road. It was probably the only time he stuffed up throughout his entire time at Tigerland.

Following his playing career, Merv coached the Sturt Football Club (SANFL) in the 1980s where he met a young player named Scott Field. They developed a wonderful player/coach relationship and predominantly a great friendship—a bond which lasted a lifetime, and which has led to his debut book, Playing with the Field, an account of Scott’s life. 

Merv received great recognition at Richmond being selected in the Richmond Team of the Century, accepted into the Richmond Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Richmond Life Membership. 


In 2019, Merv was awarded AFL Life Membership for over 48 years of service to the football industry. It is an honour, he says, that he owes to the many people who have helped him over the years. 


"I'm very honoured and as far as I'm concerned this is for all the people who have contributed to my success, if you want to call it that ... It's for the people from my home town of Wycheproof, those who have helped me, mentored me, given me advice, watched me, teammates, family, colleagues… the list could go on."