WAFL: West Perth’s Chris Keunen earns life membership in 150th game

Chris Keunen with a hitout in the ruck earlier this season. Picture: Dan White
Chris Keunen with a hitout in the ruck earlier this season. Picture: Dan White

WHEN West Perth ruckman Chris Keunen reached 100 games in 2012, the biggest honour of his WAFL career was having his name etched on the No. 19 locker.

But his development since then has him lining up against Perth for his 150th senior match as one of the more accomplished talls in the competition.

The Victorian-born footballer can now add premiership player and WA representative to his list of achievements since arriving from Melbourne to join the Falcons in 2006.

And on Saturday he becomes a life member of the WAFL’s oldest side, a feat he greets with much graciousness.

He reaches the milestone having lined up for 146 WAFL games and three Foxtel Cup clashes.

‘I didn’t expect to keep going this long,’ he said.

‘It’s the highest accolade you can get at a sporting club.

‘It’s pretty special and not something that too many people get, it puts you in a club that’s fairly elite in terms of West Perth.’

Keunen touted last year’s premiership as the obvious highlight in a career that, in the beginning, had him playing back up to AFL big men Quinten Lynch, Mark Seaby, Kepler Bradley and Robbie Warnock.

But he’s since made the rucking role his own and is enjoying his seniority in the side as a new generation of Falcons emerge.

While 2014 has been a disappointing season for West Perth, Keunen was upbeat about the side’s next tier of players.

‘That’s been the key – we’ve seen quite a few young guys come into the side,’ he said.

‘It’s going to hold the club in good stead them getting the experience now.’