Where Are They Now?: Kieran Sporn

It is a week old but I hadn't seen it posted.



Where Are They Now: Kieran Sporn

    The Advertiser
    July 08, 2014 3:00PM



KIERAN Sporn made his debut with West Adelaide as a 19-year-old in 1986 and won the medal for best first-year player to signal how good a footballer he would become. He won the best-and-fairest the following season.


By 1989, he was a Bomber playing with household names. In Round 1, he lined up alongside Tim Watson, Michael Long, Paul van der Haar, Paul Salmon, two of the Daniher brothers (Terry and Anthony) and Greg Anderson. Sporn chalked up three goals and 17 disposals in a fine debut.


But knee injuries was his constant curse. He left for a final season with Fitzroy before his injuries cut him down at just 28 in 1994. Sporn finished with 72 games for Essendon and 12 for Fitzroy.



Jesper Fjeldstad : Haven‘t seen you for a while, Kieran. What are you up to these days?


Kieran Sporn: It‘s always been the building game. My father was a builder and I‘m a carpenter and still in the building game. The knees are no good so I‘m more of a building supervisor now.


JF: What about the game? You‘ve been involved quite a bit since you finished playing, haven‘t you?


KS: I have. I coached Blackwood for three years, I had a year at Goodwood and when Andy Collins came to West Adelaide I ended up coaching the 17s and then they ended up the 18s. I ended up as Andy Collins‘ assistant coach for four years.


JF: Still very much in love with the game, Kieran?


KS: I love watching it. My son (Rhys) is 21 and like watching him but he‘s had injuries all year this year. But coaching, it‘s a lot of time to put in. I‘ve given the coaching away a couple of years ago and bought a boat to go fishing. That‘s the new hobby.


JF: Other sports that have grabbed you over the years?


KS: Obviously with (younger sister) Rachael (former Australian captain and three-time Olympian), I‘ve always liked watching basketball. I try to hit the golf ball around occasionally but that‘s mainly a bit of fun with mates. I don‘t play that often.


JF: Did you find it hard to retire when you did? I remember you finishing with Fitzroy but not playing all that many games.


KS: It was just the one year. Look it was hard. My knees gave up. I started getting a few niggles when I left Essendon and had one year with Fitzroy, then came back to West Adelaide and only played a year and a half. My knees were no good. I was only 28 when I retired so it was really hard.


JF: Felt too early?


KS: Yeah. I had a lot of different emotions I was going through. That‘s why getting into coaching was good because I was still involved. But not playing is hard.


JF: Did you get into coaching straight away?


KS: I did. I was an assistant and selector with Michael Taylor for a year and then Blackwood and Goodie Saints and then coached some juniors when my son was coming through and then ended up at Westies.


JF: Changing tack a little bit, Kieran. What are the pressing issues in the AFL today?


KS: I‘m a bit annoyed with what‘s happening at Essendon at the moment. Anthony Daniher and I are going to the game at Adelaide Oval tonight (Port Adelaide v Essendon last Saturday). For that to be going on there is annoying me and I don‘t really know what‘s going on. That‘ll all come out in the end, I suppose. But there are a few of the new rules ... I don‘t think they need to change the game too much. I think they need to just need leave the rules alone. The diving on one and a few of the changes have annoyed me but I still enjoy watching the game.


JF: One I ask all the former players: is the game better now or was it better when you played?


KS: (Laughing) I think we all say that (it was better back then). They‘re all fitter and they still hit just as hard today. But even when my son and his mates are around and they watch one of those flashbacks, I think they quite like watching it, that old style. The new game ... you hear past players being annoyed because players look up and they‘ve got no one to kick to. But they don‘t need to change the rules; the coaches will sort it out. There are not as many high marks but there are still high marks and all the good parts of footy are still there.


JF: Are you still close to the clubs you played for?


KS: I still go to a lot of the home games at Westies. I buy my membership and go to the home games. Unfortunately my son is injured but I still go to most of them and get involved with the past players, a few of the old guys I used to play there. We get in there into the rooms and enjoy a few beverages. Essendon, I‘ve still got a lot of good mates there. Anthony is over this weekend and I catch up with them a couple of times a year. And even though it was just one year at Fitzroy you still feel like you‘re part of it. We still get emails and newsletters and Essendon‘s really good like that as well.


JF: You mentioned Anthony. Who else do you keep in touch with from your playing days?


KS: The boys who are living here in Adelaide — David Grenvold is here and we‘re not far from each other. We try to make an effort to catch up every couple of months. I run into ``Ando‘‘ (Greg Anderson) a bit, Steven Stretch around town and when we get back to Melbourne I try to catch up with Mark Harvey or Dean Wallis.


JF: Who do you like of today‘s players?


KS: I really like the way Rory Sloane plays, with his work rate. I don‘t get to a lot of AFL games live but when I do I look at their running patterns and how hard they work. Him and Shaun Burgoyne from Hawthorn, Luke Hodge from Hawthorn. Those are the guys, the ones who cover a bit of ground.


JF: We‘ve spoken about rule changes, but has there been a good one since you finished?


KS: Only to have cameras on the goal line, and technology in general. Cameras have cleaned up the game as well. There are no king hits any more and players being cleaned up off the ball.


JF: Who wins this year‘s premiership, Kieran?


KS: I still think Hawthorn, even though they were beaten by North Melbourne. Hawthorn, but certainly Sydney is a definite threat. I‘m actually going to Sydney in a few weeks to watch Sydney play Essendon and I‘m looking forward to watching ``Buddy‘‘ live.




It would have been nice if he had mentioned a couple of our gut runners like Stants and Heppell.


KS: I still think Hawthorn, even though they were beaten by North Melbourne. Hawthorn, but certainly Sydney is a definite threat. I‘m actually going to Sydney in a few weeks to watch Sydney play Essendon and I‘m looking forward to watching Hurley smash ``Buddy‘‘ live.