Keary's football knowledge impresses Madge

Margie McDonald

Westpac NSW Blues coach Michael Maguire clearly remembers the first impression Luke Keary made on him, when he arrived at the South Sydney Rabbitohs more than a decade ago.

“On his first day he was on the field with me – the first time we’d actually talked – and he started reciting off facts and figures about footy and my time at Wigan (as coach),” Maguire told after 32-year-old Keary announced that 2024 would be his last NRL season.

“I thought he’s got a lot of knowledge around football, and where I had come from. He was hungry for information and that’s what he showed as a player.

“He always wanted to learn, wanted to know why. He was just a footballer.”

Keary, who was born in Ipswich west of Brisbane but grew up in north-west Sydney, played five-eighth for the NSW Blues in the 2020 series.

He has played 212 NRL games and won three premierships at two clubs – the Rabbitohs (2014) and the Sydney Roosters (2018, 2019).

“All I ever wanted to be was a Rugby League player, and on 1 June 2013 my dream came true,” Keary told

“The 12 seasons that followed have been the best of my life.

“To Madge (Maguire), you gave me my first shot and I’ll be forever grateful.

“You took me in as a kid and taught me how to be a first grader. The lessons, the toughness you ingrained in me, have stayed with me my whole career.”

Keary also thanked coach Rooster coach Trent Robinson.

“I feel so privileged to have had the chance to play under you … you’ve been a mentor and a mate for eight years.”

Keary thanked all the players from his three Premiership-winning teams but singled out three including True Blues Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco.

“’Boydo’ – you were my club, state and Australian captain. I got to stand next to you every week and I’ll never forget the warrior you were and the impact you’ve had on my career,” Keary said.

“’Teddy’ – it’s been a pleasure mate. Since the day you got here you’ve pushed me every day to become the best player I could be.”

He also thanked Cooper Cronk, who he partnered in the halves for both Roosters titles.

“To ‘Coops’ – I’ll never forget the time we had together. It was a dream to play next to you and the lessons you’ve taught me will stick with me through the next chapters.”

For Maguire there was a certain Keary trait in matches that never failed.

“Running up short sides. He’s been lethal going up the short side,” Maguire said.

“He’s won plenty of games in his career doing that.”