FORMER Sydney star Ryan O'Keefe has been appointed coach of the Western Jets in the TAC Cup under-18 competition.
As part of a dual, full-time role, O'Keefe will also be head coach of the Maribyrnong Sports Academy's AFL program, which has helped produce draftees including North Melbourne forward Kayne Turner and Gold Coast pair Touk Miller and Peter Wright and, this year, Jack Bytel (St Kilda), Zak Butters (Port Adelaide) and Buku Khamis (Western Bulldogs).
O'Keefe – whose 286-game career featured two premierships, a Norm Smith Medal, a best and fairest and an All Australian selection – is building an impressive coaching CV.
Since hanging up his boots at the end of 2014, he has spent the past four years on Adelaide's coaching panel, the first two as a midfield development coach before taking charge of the Crows' SANFL team in 2017-18.
The 37-year-old, a graduate of the AFL's level four coaching program, has replaced former Jets coach Torin Baker, who is now a development coach at Hawthorn.
"(O'Keefe) will bring a unique mindset of being able to relate to and understand the needs of players at this level, and what will be required of them at that next level as they progress," AFL Victoria state talent manager Paul Hamilton said.
"(He) will play an important role in helping further develop players in our under-18 system, but also those who are aspiring to take their game further with the sports academy, spending time on their skills on and off the field."