Young kids all have their dreams, and some grow up wanting to play AFL footy.

It was interesting to hear Leigh Keen tell his story on the 17th of November 2022, when he was inducted into the AFL Premiership Players’ Club at their Annual Stamp Launch. This award is presented to a total of 20 each year, consisting of players, coaches, umpires and presidents of clubs playing in, or being involved in, a premiership win.

Leigh was interviewed by well-known former TV star Glenn Ridge, of Sale of the Century fame.

Firstly, Leigh just loves footy. It was amusing to hear Leigh say that he realised very early on from his school days, that the playing of footy was not for him as he had two left feet (which drew much laughter), and whilst he wasn’t much of a player, he was a good runner, which eventually led him into the world of umpiring. Thankfully for Leigh and for the AFLUA.

Leigh has always been a giver and has helped many a young goal umpire achieve the ultimate success, and go on to umpire in an AFL Grand Final.

It was heart-warming to see so many of his proteges in attendance to honour Leigh at the function.

Leigh sets a good example to many a young person by showing them that when one door closes, another will always open if you are prepared to devote yourself, be persistent and do the hard work necessary to get where you want to go.

When you think about Australia Post and its stamps, the most common thing that comes to mind would be, whose image is on this stamp that I must affix to the envelope? Is it the Queen or the Governor-General or some other dignitary? Leigh, you are now added to the list of dignitaries who appear on an official Australia Post stamp.

Leigh’s achievements include:

  • Life Membership of the AFLUA, following 184 games as a goal umpire, including two Grand Finals in 1988 and 1991.
  • In 1993, Leigh was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • He also had the honour of having an award named after him known as “The Leigh Keen Shield”.
  • He was awarded The Australian Sports Medal for the year 2000.
  • Leigh is held in very high esteem within the AFLUA, having served as treasurer in 1983, then secretary in 1989, then statistician 1987-1993.

Most of his work off-field has been done in an honorary or voluntary capacity. 

Congratulations Leigh, on your award.


# Written by Kevin Andrews, AFLUA Life Member

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