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McKeever the chameleon

Niall McKeever's versatility has earned him a place back in the senior team

11:45am  Apr 12, 2013

McKeever's steep learning

After three seasons in the AFL, Niall McKeever is ready to become a more regular senior player at the Brisbane Lions

1:10pm  Dec 3, 2012

Draft Aftermath

The Lions’ rounded out their 2013 senior list by selecting three teenagers at the 2012 NAB AFL National Draft.

11:28am  Nov 23, 2012

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197 cm
95 kg
2019 AFL Fantasy Points

Player Bio

At a Glance

Junior Clubs: -
Clubs: Brisbane Lions
Debut: Rd 14 2011
Recruited from: Country Antrim (Ireland)
Brownlow Votes: 1


Niall McKeever is the latest player to be recruited to the Lions from Ireland. He is a tall and athletic prospect who starred for county side Antrim in the local Gaelic league. Like many of his compatriots, his rapid AFL development saw him play senior football within two years of first picking up the oval-shaped ball.


• McKeever is from Portglenone in Ireland - about 30 minutes north of Belfast - and began playing Gaelic football with county Antrim.

 • He became fixated with AFL after closely following the careers of fellow Irishmen Tadgh Kennely and Martin Clarke. He soon adopted the Brisbane Lions as 'his team' after speaking with his brother who spent considerable time on Queensland's Gold Coast and regularly attended Gabba matches. 

• He was spotted by AFL recruiters and invited to trial with Richmond's senior squad during the 2009 pre-season period.

• Lions Football Manager Graeme Allan promptly signed him to a two-year International Rookie contract during a recruiting mission in June 2009.

• He went on to play an important role in Antrim's push towards the Ulster Championship. His team made the final for the first time in decades but ultimately went down to powerhouse Tyronne.

• He joined his new Lions team-mates for the first time in November 2009 at the commencement of the Club's pre-season campaign.

• His recruitment to the AFL became official when the Club pre-selected him as an International Rookie with Pick No.67 in the 2009 Rookie Draft.

Season by Season

Season by Season

• With regular full-back Daniel Merrett pinch-hitting up forward at the beginning of 2012, McKeever found a place in the Lions’ back six for the Lions’ season opener against Melbourne.

• His impressive performance against the Demons saw him earn his first ever Brownlow vote, however a quieter match the following week against Carlton resulted in his omission from the senior side.

• He played a further seven senior matches throughout the remainder of the season, but spent the majority of his with the Lions Reserves side. 

• His senior games included a memorable victory over then ladder-leader West Coast at the Gabba , which McKeever helped achieve by out-running opponent Jack Darling and making a match-saving touch on the goal-line in the dying stages.

• Although he played just nine senior games, McKeever did get to enjoy his first ever Australian Rules Premiership after the Lions Reserves’ defeated NT Thunder in the NEAFL Grand Final.

• He was also among the Reserves’ best players the following week in Canberra, in the team’s Inter-Conference Championship win over Queanbeyan.

• With his first full season behind him, McKeever approached 2011 with great confidence and began being trialled in a variety of roles.

• However, he seemed most comfortable in a key defensive post and proved damaging in the NEAFL competition. Such was his dominance down back, that the Irishman was called upon to represent Queensland in their State game against Western Australia in Perth as a back-up defender/ruckman.

• McKeever was eventually elevated to the Lions' senior list on the eve of the team's Round 14 match against Fremantle in WA. His inclusion added some much-needed side to the Lions line-up which had lost Mitch Clark to an ankle injury the week earlier.  

• The Irishman maintained his position in the senior team for the final 10 matches of the season, finding a niche at half-back. His speed, long-kicking and competitiveness proved key features of his game.

• He booted the first goal of his short career in Round 22 against reigning Premiers Collingwood at the MCG after earning a 50-metre penalty on the wing. While his short-stepped set-shot action raised eyebrows from those in attendance, it proved effective and was appropriately celebrated by McKeever and his team-mates.

• He polled 9.5 votes in the 2011 Merrett-Murray Medal to finish 20th overall and extended his stay in Australia by signing a new contract with the Club.

• Still in the very early stages of his AFL development, McKeever spent most of his first pre-season learning the rops of Australian Rules Football before putting his skills to practice with the Lions Reserves.

• He was played predominantly at full-back during his initial apprenticeship and did everything asked of him in a defensive role. He continued learning more with every outing. 

• He suffered a medial ligament knee injury midway through the season which forced him to miss a month of football.

• He finished the season with 14 QAFL games and was named in the Lions' best on a handful of occasions in what proved a successful introduction to AFL.

• In October, he received his first taste of senior AFL action when he lined up in the Shanghai Showdown exhibition match against Melbourne in China. Playing mainly in the ruck, the ultra-competitive McKeever showed no fear against All Australian ruckman Mark Jamar.



By the numbers

  • 2019 Season Average
    Games Played
    • Kicks
    • Handballs
    • Disposals
    • Marks
    • Hit-Outs
    • Tackles
    • Goals
    • AFL Fantasy

2019 Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 0 - -
Handballs 0 - -
Disposals 0 - -
Marks 0 - -
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 0 - -
Goals 0 - -
AFL Fantasy 0 - -

2019 Season Breakdown

Rd Opponent Result K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
TOTAL W: 0 - L: 0

By the numbers

  • Career Average
    Games Played 22
    • Kicks 4.7
    • Handballs 6.4
    • Disposals 11.1
    • Marks 3.4
    • Hit-Outs 1.5
    • Tackles 1.2
    • Goals 0.1
    • AFL Fantasy 41.7

Career Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 13 Melbourne Rd 1, 2012
Handballs 11 Collingwood Rd 7, 2012
Disposals 18 Melbourne Rd 1, 2012
Marks 8 Melbourne Rd 14, 2012
Hit-outs 9 Fremantle Rd 12, 2013
Tackles 3 Fremantle Rd 12, 2013
Goals 1 North Melbourne Rd 4, 2013
AFL Fantasy 68 Melbourne Rd 1, 2012

Career Breakdown

Season Club K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF


Frees For
Frees Against
AFL Fantasy points


AFL Brisbane Lions: 19 games, 1 goal


Club Awards

Lions Reserves Premiership Player
2012, 2013

Other Awards

Queensland State Representative