190. Keith Roberts

Player Inductee

North Hobart/Yeoman-Wynyard/New Town/Launceston/City, Defender, 1922-35

17 games for North Hobart, 1922-23
19 games for Yeoman/Wynyard, 1924-25
73 games for New Town, 1925-30
7 games for Launceston, 1933
19 games for City, 1934-35
Launceston captain-coach, 1933 (Part)
City captain-coach, 1935 (Part)
North Hobart TFL premiership, 1923
North Hobart State premiership, 1923
Wilson J. Bailey Medal, 1927 (TFL Best & Fairest)
9 National Carnival games for Tasmania – 1927 (Melbourne), 1930 (Adelaide)
3 representative games for NWFU, 1924
23 representative games for TFL, 1926-30
Captained TFL team against New South Wales, 1929
New Town/Glenorchy FC ‘100 Centenary Champions’, 2019

A brilliant defender of the ‘between-the-wars’ era, Keith Roberts began his senior career with North Hobart in 1922, and the following year he was a member of the club’s TFL and State premiership teams. He subsequently moved to the north-west coast and joined Yeoman for 1924, a season in which he earned his first representative honours, most notably as a member of the famous NWFU team under Ivor Warne-Smith which defeated the TFL at Burnie. Shortly after the commencement of the 1925 season Roberts was approached to come back to Hobart to play with New Town, and after a slight clearance wrangle, he returned south.

Roberts’ five full seasons with New Town from 1926-30 were undoubtedly the best of his career, transitioning from a talented young forward into arguably the finest half back flanker in Tasmania. A thrilling player who combined dash and speed with high marking and long kicking, he formed a potent defensive combination at New Town alongside fellow Hall of Fame members Alan Leitch and Eric Huxtable. His reputation for unwavering sportsmanship and fairness on the field made him a fan favourite, and he was a very popular winner of the 1927 Wilson J. Bailey Medal as TFL Best & Fairest. Unsurprisingly, he was an automatic selection in TFL representative teams and was acknowledged as a fine on-field leader, so much so that he was appointed captain of the league team which played New South Wales in Sydney in 1929. Roberts was also selected in the 1927 and 1930 National Carnival squads, playing every game at both tournaments: his brilliant form at the 1927 event saw him receive offers to remain in Melbourne (offers he declined), while he was one of the few Tasmanians who could hold their head high after the state’s disastrous campaign at Adelaide in 1930.

After leaving New Town at the end of 1930, Roberts spent the next two years playing rugby in Queensland before returning to Tasmania and signing with Launceston as captain-coach for 1933. Unfortunately, his tenure ended after only a few months, after he hurt his knee in the opening game of the season and was eventually deemed unfit to continue by the club’s committee. Roberts subsequently joined City for 1934, enjoying a good season and being appointed as coach for the following year; however injury and illness again meant he couldn’t give the job his all, resigning at the beginning of July and retiring from the game. It was a disappointing end to what had been a truly stellar career of 12 seasons and 170 senior games.