Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Family man honoured

Terry Keenan has been remembered by friends and family as a family man and a keen cricketer and footballer.

ASHLEIGH WILLIAMSON October 27, 2012 3:47pm

Terry Keenan played seven VFL reserves games for Melbourne in 1975.

Legendary Old Students captain David Shaw defied critics who wanted a struggling Terry Keenan dropped for the 1975-76 Haisman Shield final.

Shaw remained confident his decision was right when Keenan walked to the middle of Deakin Reserve with Students 3-38 chasing Shepparton Youth Club’s 257.

He was still confident when Keenan returned the crease with Students 7-190 to start the second day.

Keenan scored 128 runs in 233 minutes — the only Shepparton Cricket Association century made that season — as Old Students reached 289 for a memorable premiership win.

‘‘He loved the big stage and ‘Shawry’ knew that,’’ John McPhillamy said of his best friend and Students teammate.

‘‘On his day, he was electrifying. He had the eye and timing to hit the ball wherever he wanted.’’

Keenan, 60, died at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne on October 13.

The man known as ‘‘Duke’’ or ‘‘TK’’ will be remembered for always helping in a time of need — off or on the sporting field.

Rochester boy

Terence James Keenan was born on April 23, 1952, as one of seven children — three daughters and four sons — to Rochester couple Dot (dec) and Jim.

Keenan spent his childhood enjoying billy cart races and training for cricket and football in the front paddock of his parents’ dairy farm at Fairy Dell, a small area near Rochester.

His family eventually returned to Rochester, where he spent hours hitting a tennis ball with his own cricket bat he made from a piece of wood.

The St Joseph’s School student delivered newspapers and he once let off fire crackers to scare the dogs who used to chase him on his rounds.

He would ride his bicycle to help Father Hogan as an altar boy at his church.

Keenan’s bicycle was also an important part of meeting his eventual wife.

Family man

Keenan married Wendy Baldi — whose brother Paul kicked six goals for Shepparton in the 1978 Goulburn Valley Football League grand final — at Numurkah on March 15, 1980.

Wendy’s brothers were rumoured to have paid Keenan to take her on their first date.

Keenan would ride his bicycle from Shepparton to Numurkah when he was dating Wendy to prove his commitment to her family.

The couple had three children — Lauren, 30, Ryan, 28, and Ashleigh, 24.

Keenan cooked and decorated a cake for his children’s birthdays every year and proudly displayed them in the Rochester milk bar he and Wendy ran, before enjoying them as a family.

The family lived at Bendigo, Echuca and Rochester, with Keenan always happy to drive his children to support their sporting careers.

‘‘He never pushed (us) in sport, but his talents rubbed off with (us) representing town, regional and state sporting teams,’’ Ashleigh said.

Keenan had plenty of sporting talent to share with his children.

The footballer

Keenan first played football aged 14 for Rochester East Bulldogs.

He was 20 when he left Rochester, which then played in the Bendigo league, to join Shepparton under Bill Sykes in 1972.

Daryl Twitt kicked 11 goals to ensure Shepparton defeated Euroa 19.11 (125) to 11.8 (74) in the grand final that year.

Keenan moved to Tasmania to play for Devonport in 1973 and 1974.

The left-footer played seven VFL reserves games for Melbourne in 1975 before returning to Devonport for the rest of that season.

He returned to Shepparton in 1976, won its club best and fairest in 1977 and won another premiership in 1978 under Colin Trevaskis.

Seymour forward Ray Stomann was reported for striking Keenan before the first bounce of the 1978 grand final.

Keenan was named Shepparton’s best player as his side came from 41 points behind eight minutes into the second quarter to win 20.18 (138) to 14.12 (96).

‘‘Terry was always a popular fella, well-liked and an outstanding footballer,’’ Trevaskis said.

‘‘He was a fella who would keep all the guys together and created a good atmosphere around the club.’’

Keenan was also part of the 1978 GVFL side that won Winfield Country Football Championship under Bob Allison.

He kicked six goals against arch-rivals Ovens and Murray and earned best afield honours in the final against Hampden. Keenan coached then Tungamah league side Congupna in 1982 and 1983 and Kyabram District league side Stanhope in 1984 and 1985.

He won a premiership playing for Stanhope in 1986 to cap a career of more than 300 senior games.

The cricketer

Keenan joined SYC after moving to Shepparton in 1971.

Shaw captained and McPhillamy played in the Students side that defeated SYC in the 1971-72 final.

All-rounder Keenan was selected for a Tasmanian under-21 side to tour Victoria in 1973.

McPhillamy lured his former football teammate to play cricket with him at Students in 1975.

Keenan haunted his former club SYC with his century in the 1975-76 final and he helped Students defend their premiership in 1976-77.

He won another cricket flag playing for Echuca aged 40.

Melbourne life

Keenan and Wendy moved to Eltham North about eight years ago when Ryan and Lauren moved to Melbourne for university.

Keenan stayed at Murchison Caravan Park, which he called ‘‘Terrasic Park’’, while working at Tatura Milk during the week and travelled home to Eltham North on weekends.

One particular Tatura Milk colleague could not work after having a stroke.

Keenan would often take groceries to his struggling friend, or just visit for a chat and a coffee.

He and Wendy also became foster carers for disadvantaged children.

Some children stayed at their house for weeks and some stayed for months, but Keenan was always there to help in a time of need.

‘‘He would do anything for you off his own bat. He was a bloody good man,’’ McPhillamy said.

Terry Keenan is survived by his father Jim, his wife Wendy, his three children and his six siblings.

About 400 people attended his funeral at St Joseph’s Catholic Church at Rochester on Monday.

Terry Keenan was always part of a special group at Shepparton Football Club premiership reunions.

Four-time Shepparton senior player Colin Scripps organised a reunion in 2009 for the club’s premiership sides of the 1960s and 1970s.

‘‘There was only three blokes who could still fit into their old jumpers — Bill Sykes, Brian Noonan and Terry Keenan ,’’ Mr Scripps said.

He remembered Keenan as an athletic footballer and a popular clubman.

‘‘He got on with everyone and was a good guy to hang around,’’ he said.

‘‘Premiership players seem to be like brothers. ‘‘They look out for one another and develop a big bond, even if they won premierships 10 or 20 years apart.’’

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