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1 ON 1: IRISH MUSIC MAN FINDS HIS BEAT AT THE PARADE
3/08/2011 12:46:07 PM

From the Wantina South Devils, Kieran McGuinness is one of the most grounded footballers playing SANFL football currently.

A late starter in our national code, beginning in his early teens, his football talents quickly came to the fore.

McGuinness played state under 16s in 1999 and was a part of the 2001 national campaign at under 18s level, for the Victorian Metropolitan side  in a team that included likes of Chris Judd, Luke Ball, Leigh Montanga, and Crow Brent Reilly, along  two-club and three-knee reconstruction footballer David Rodan.

He was drafted at the end of the 2001 season by the Bulldogs; making is AFL debut in a draw against Essendon during the following winter.

“As a lad I was a true North Melbourne fan and John Longmire was my football hero,” McGuinness said.

“I remember being pretty nerves going into the draft, but it was a big day for the family.

“I was reasonably confident of getting drafted and pretty happy that I was staying in Melbourne, as our family is very close.

“In my first game, a Matthew Lloyd missed shot after the siren, ensured the game was a draw.

“I played at full forward and kicked a couple goals (he finished with three) from memory.

“And yes, I can remember my opponents – during the game I stood on Danny Jacobs, Dustin Fletcher and Mark Bolton - at different times.”

After this bright start, the number 42 draft selection only played 26 senior games between ’02 and ’06 with the Western Bulldogs.   

He was a participant in the 2005 VFL Grand Final for the Werribee Tigers, where they lost to the Sandringham Zebras, by a couple of goals.

After being delisted McGuinness decided to venture west.

“I decided to go to Norwood for as bit of a change and to learn to become independent,” McGuinness explained.

“It was time to move away from my strong family ties and the SANFL is a strong competition where good footy is played.

“There are a lot of footballers in this competition that could play at higher levels.

“The proud history is also a huge part of the culture at Norwood, and this also attracted me.”

McGuinness has also been high in his praise of senior coach Nathan Bassett, suggesting the former Crows defender, along with Rodney Eade, has been his best coach in the game.

“‘Bass’ has been fantastic for this football club,” he said.

“He is probably the best coach I’ve played under.

“He has a strong knowledge of the game and a passion for the Norwood Football Club.  

“His communication is really ‘spot on’ and the way he gets his message across is excellent.”

After a slow start Norwood charged home to make the Grand Final last year, with McGuinness being an important component in these structures, on the half back line.

It a thrilling contest, the Redlegs just failed to knock the Bulldogs off their perch, going down by six points.

“While we got to with a couple of goals in the Werribee (VFL) Grand Final, you never really had any conviction there was a chance to win the game,” he explained

“In last year’s decider you could tell and feel is was a close contest, which could have gone either way.”

The philosophical defender also lived for a year in Ireland.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” McGuinness reflected.

“I spent 2008 living in Belfast and played Gaelic football that year.

‘Although I only sign in the car, music is my main passion and I play the guitar casually”

Now 27, McGuinness believed the year’s sabbatical was actually good for his body, and he hoping to be donning the Norwood jumper for at least another five years yet.  

By Peter Argent

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