Kemp joins champions’ hall
A Margaret River resident and WA football legend had his status in the game confirmed again last week, with Dean Kemp inducted into the WA Hall of Champions.
Kemp regaled the audience with stories from his time at the West Coast Eagles, proving a highlight of the ceremony.
He told the Times when he looked back on his incredible career, winning the 1994 premiership was always his go-to highlight.
“We had lots of success in the 90s and I was lucky to play with a great group so that was a stand-out for me,” he said.
“Peter Matera is the only other player from the Eagles to be inducted so far.
“I think it’s wonderful to see so many women and men recognised and to be in the same room together is something you never forget.”
Hall of Champions chairman David Hatt, ex-chief executive of the Fremantle Dockers, told the Times Kemp’s name repeatedly came up during his time at the Dockers as the most respected and feared competitor.
“He was the most highly regarded Eagle during the period,” Mr Hatt said.
“Overwhelmingly, he was the best.
“He was the player they called on to do special things at special times, and he did.”
Kemp’s rise to fame is considered atypical in football circles, with West Coast waiting until pick 117 before taking him in the 1989 draft.
It proved to be one of the great stories in draft history, with Kemp emerging as one of the game’s greatest players.
He played just 23 WA Football League games with Subiaco before starring with the Eagles across 243 games.
Kemp’s record includes All-Australian selection and the 1992 and 1994 premierships.
He won the Norm Smith Medal as best on field in the Eagles’ 1994 premiership and was the club’s co-captain in his final season before he was forced to retire because of recurring bouts of concussion.
Kemp was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2007.
Mr Hatt said Kemp’s stories lit up the room at last week’s ceremony. Kemp told the Times he had been told about the nomination several months ago.
“I was inducted alongside Sally Ironmonger, who is a fantastic netballer,” he said.
“There was so many legends of sport, not just in footy, but swimming, netball and sport throughout WA.
“It was a wonderful thing to be involved in and a great night.”
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