CARLTON has welcomed the man who has a history with some of its best and brightest Blues.

Daniel O’Keefe joined the Club as a development coach in mid-October after a distinguished eight-year career working with elite young talent.

As the former Geelong Falcons head coach, there were a few familiar faces when O’Keefe arrived at Monday’s first session of the pre-season.

“There’s actually a real Geelong contingent here at the Club now, which is terrific. Not from just the playing group, but also coaches,” O’Keefe said.

“I actually played under Dale Amos in the Geelong VFL days about 10 or 11 years ago now, and I played with Ed Curnow at Geelong Falcons as well.

“I think it’s just nice to have that connection, and that’s something that you’ll always have and you can always lean back on with those type of people.”

O’Keefe can be credited with 11 Geelong Falcons getting drafted in his two-season stint as coach, with Carlton’s own Sam Walsh part of that group. Walsh won a NAB League premiership under O’Keefe back in 2017. 

With the Blues’ exciting unit of first to fourth-year players, O’Keefe’s extensive work in junior programs will prove invaluable.

“I’m I guess a little bit unconventional compared to most other coaches coming into the system for the first time,” he said.

“I haven’t played 200 games or 300 games of AFL football, but I guess I’ve had a different experience coaching juniors and some top-end talent like Sam Walsh.

“Last year, I coached the forward line in the Geelong VFL program. Prior to that I was the head coach of the Geelong Falcons, where we were lucky enough to get 11 players drafted in two years which was wonderful.”

Aside from Carlton’s promising young list, O’Keefe jumped at the opportunity to work under Senior Coach David Teague ahead of his first full season at the helm.

O’Keefe was quick to buy into Teague’s “laid-back but serious” approach to coaching after an impressive finish to the 2019 season.

“Before coming here, I caught up with David and within a couple of hours of knowing the guy I just felt like I wanted to work for him straight away,” he said.

“I loved his philosophy early days and in week one of training now, especially with younger players.

“We’re trying to provide the environment where they can make mistakes but have the freedom to be able to go for kicks and take the game on.”