Dennington's Chris Keilar lines up for 150th game against Timboon Demons

SAFE HANDS: Dennington's Chris Keilar is lining up for his 150th match after slotting his 500th goal earlier in the season. Picture: Rob Gunstone

SAFE HANDS: Dennington's Chris Keilar is lining up for his 150th match after slotting his 500th goal earlier in the season. Picture: Rob Gunstone

CHRIS Keilar’s time at Dennington has stretched almost a decade and yielded more than 500 goals. 

Injuries have restricted his output to just seven appearances this season, but the Dennington captain is now primed for his 150th game in red and white.

And the 30-year-old leader still has plenty left in the tank.

With the Dogs set to miss finals action for the first time since 2011, Keilar’s role as captain has shifted this season.

JOY: Chris Keilar

JOY: Chris Keilar

He’s been charged with helping the club’s next generation in their transition to senior football.

“It’s definitely been enjoyable seeing young guys come through and develop into senior players,” Keilar said.

“They haven’t been (making up numbers), they’ve really been up in our bests.

“You can’t always be successful, as much as you’d like to be. Just about every year I’ve played here, we’d played a prelim or grand final. 

“It’s definitely different but it’s good to see those kids coming through. We’ll be in a good spot for the future.”

Keilar, who returned to his home club of Wickliffe-Lake Bolac for one season as an assistant coach in 2011, said he was part of blooding a new-look forward line at the kennel.

“It’s absolutely a different forward line. I’ve only managed to play seven games this year through a few injuries and then I stacked my dirtbike and did the AC joint in my shoulder,” he said.

“It’s been hard to build a forward line with players in and out each week and that’s why we probably haven’t kicked as many goals.

“We’ve been retraining forward flankers and pockets, it’s been tough work.”

A crucial cog in Dennington’s drought-breaking 2015 premiership, Keilar described the flag feat as the most special moment of his career.

His premiership coach, Dogs legend Darcy Lewis, said Keilar’s leadership had been vital to the club’s success.

“He has been around the club for a while, and ever since he’s been here he’s stepped right into leadership roles – whether it be captaincy, assistant coaching – all of it,” Lewis said.

“He’s been a huge asset to the Dennington footy club, on and off the field.

“When people are a bit down or out of form, there’s not too many people who can just jump in and help.

“But he’s one of those people who will go out of his way to help everyone else out and make sure they’re getting the best out of themselves.”

Lewis said Keilar was a no-fuss forward and described him as “the greatest goalkicker in club history”.

Dennington travels to Timboon on Saturday.

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