THE western suburbs football community is mourning the sudden death of Ben
Luke D’Anello, Hobsons Bay Leader June 10, 2016
THE western suburbs football community is mourning the sudden death of Ben Kelly.
Kelly was a three-time premiership player with Western Region Football League club Spotswood and
also spent three seasons with VFL outfit Williamstown.
He passed away in his sleep on Wednesday night, aged 36, and is survived by wife Carly and sons Judd, Nate and Austin.
Chris O’Keefe, who succeeded Kelly as Spotswood coach, said his close friend would be “sorely missed”.
“Ben Kelly was a leader of men — on the footy field and off it,” O’Keefe said.
“As a player, he was hard, fair and well respected by teammates and opposition alike.
“As a coach, he demanded the best out of his players, and they gave it to him week in and week out. He was very loyal and once you had his trust and respect he was forever in your corner.
“He cherished his wife and three boys, loved his family and friends and lived his life to the fullest.
“He had great character and touched many people’s lives in many different ways and was always willing to do anything asked of him. He will be sorely missed by everyone.”
Known as ‘Chopper’, Kelly grew up in Gippsland and arrived at Williamstown from Heyfield in 2001.
He played 13 senior games over three seasons and was a member of consecutive Development League
flags for the Seagulls in 2002 and 2003.
Kelly claimed the Fred Hill Medal for best afield in the 2003 decider.
He then enjoyed great success at Spotswood, helping the club complete a three-peat by leading it to
flags as captain-coach in 2008 and 09.
A star midfielder, Kelly was fiercely determined and helped set up a period of success which delivered
the Woodsmen eight consecutive grand final appearances.
“I knew respect was huge and I knew if it wasn’t there you didn’t win, so I just demanded it,” Kelly said
in an interview in 2014.
In recent years, Kelly was also involved as coaching co-ordinator at Williamstown Juniors and
WRFL football operations manager David Newton acknowledged Kelly’s towering contribution.
“The WRFL board, administration, member clubs and greater WRFL Community is deeply saddened
by the sudden passing of Ben Kelly,” Newton said.
“Ben’s contribution to the Spotswood Football Club was significant as a premiership coach and player
and recently assisted the WRFL as a runner for the under-19 interleague team.
“Our thoughts are with Ben’s family, friends and all involved at the Spotswood Football Club.”