Career : 1934 – 1937
Debut : Round 8, 1934 vs Melbourne, aged 27 years, 355 days
Carlton Player No. 511
Games : 38
Goals : 33
Guernsey No. 5
Last Game : Round 12, 1937 vs South Melbourne, aged 31 years
Height : 184 cm ( 6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight : 82.5 kg (13 stone)
DOB : July 10, 1906
Very much a mature-age recruit, South Australian follower William Keith Dunn was 10 days short of his 28th birthday when he played his first match for Carlton in 1934. Three years later, he finished a short but notable career in navy blue on his thirty-first birthday.
Carlton tried for years to recruit Dunn from Adelaide club Sturt, where the tough and durable follower had earned a fine reputation during 74 games with the Two Blues. He had represented SA three times, and capped his career by winning the 1933 Margarey Medal as Best and Fairest in the SANFL. Only then did Keith agree to join the Navy Blues, where a very happy coach in Dan Minogue insisted that he wear the prestigious number 5 guernsey.
Throughout Dunn’s debut season, Minogue employed him as a second ruckman, or as a back pocket. But when Frank Maher took over as Carlton coach in 1935, Keith began spending more game time in the forward line, and became a handy foil for champion full-forward ‘Soapy’ Vallence. On the rare occasion that ‘Soapy’ was being held, he would run his defender up the ground, and Dunn would drift across from the pocket to provide a marking target at the goal front. This ploy worked a treat in round 10, 1935, when Carlton thrashed Essendon at Windy Hill, and Dunn booted five goals.
Even so, it was around the ground where Keith was at his best. Throughout 1935, he teamed up with Charlie Davey in the first ruck, with Ansell Clarke roving in a classy combination. Carlton wound up third on the ladder, only to be beaten in the first Semi Final by Richmond. Season 1936 was a very similar story - Melbourne knocked the Blues out of flag contention in the first week of the finals.
Dunn played his last match for Carlton against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval on July 10, 1937 – his 31st birthday. The Blues were expected to win comfortably, but put in a shocker to be beaten by five goals on a day that should have had a different outcome.
Keith went home to South Australia after that, and in 1940 volunteered to fight for his country in World War II. He was trained as a sapper (military engineer) and fought in some of the most arduous campaigns of the war against the Japanese in New Guinea, Bougainville and Rabaul.
Keith survived - physically intact - and returned home to be discharged in 1946. But in May 1962, he died at the tragically young age of 55.