Playing for Keeps (TV series)

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Playing for Keeps
Playing for Keeps title card.jpg
Written by
  • Claire Phillips
  • Christine Bartlett
  • Ian Meadows
  • Ainslie Clouston
  • Mithila Gupta
Directed by
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Rory Callaghan
Producer(s)Paul Moloney
Kerrie Mainwaring
CinematographyMartin Smith
Editor(s)Antonio Mestres
Adrian Rostirolla
Running time60 minutes[1]
Production company(s)Screentime
Original networkNetwork Ten
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release19 September 2018 (2018-09-19) –
External links

Playing for Keeps is an Australian drama television series, which began airing on Network Ten on 19 September 2018. The series was created from a concept by the network's head of drama Rick Maier. It centres on the wives and girlfriends of the players at the fictional Southern Jets Football Club. Its ensemble cast includes Madeleine West, Annie Maynard, Cece Peters, Olympia Valance, Isabella Giovinazzo, and Jeremy Lindsay Taylor. Playing for Keeps was renewed for a second season in November 2018.


On 9 November 2017, the series was announced during Ten's upfronts.[2] It focuses on the women behind the men of an Australian rules football club.[3] The concept for the series was created by Rick Maier, the head of drama at the network.[4] Playing for Keeps is produced by Screentime, and has received investment from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.[5] The episodes have been written by Claire Phillips, Christine Bartlett, Ian Meadows, Ainslie Clouston, and Mithila Gupta, with Sian Davies, Scott Major, and Tori Garrett directing.[4]

In May 2018, it was announced Madeleine West, Cece Peters, Annie Maynard, and Olympia Valance, had been cast as the wives and girlfriends.[6] West plays Kath Rickards, who is married to the coach and acts as a "mentor and den mother."[6] Peters plays Paige Dunkeley, a high school teacher who follows her boyfriend to the city. Maynard was cast as Maddy Cochrane, a lawyer and a mother of two.[6][7] Valance is socialite Tahlia Woods, who is engaged to the captain of the Southern Jets. Of securing her role, Valance stated "When I read the script, I just knew that I had to play Tahlia. I was determined this character would be mine."[8] The following month, Isabella Giovinazzo was cast as Jessie Davies, a former footballer married to one of the club's players.[9]

Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Jackson Gallagher, Kevin Hofbauer, George Pullar, James Mason, and Ethan Panizza also joined the ensemble cast.[6] Taylor is the team's coach Brian Rickards,[7] Gallagher plays Tahlia's fiancé Connor Marrello,[10] Hofbauer is "admired club veteran" Travis Cochrane, while Pullar, Mason and Panizza portray footballers Daniel Fletcher, Jack Davies, and Rusty O'Reilly respectively.[7] Paul Ireland was cast as Andrew Macleish, the president of the Southern Jets.[7] Of the casting process, Maier stated "This has been one of the most comprehensive casting calls we've done. The key roles dictate strong, independent, fascinating women. We think Nathan Lloyd and the team at Screentime have done a brilliant job securing a cast of this calibre."[3]

Filming for the show began on 4 June 2018 in Melbourne.[6] The eight-part series began airing on 19 September 2018 on Network Ten and WIN Television.[5] The first episode was available to view one week early on the catch-up service Tenplay.[5] On 14 November 2018, Network Ten announced the show had been renewed for a second season, which will air in 2019.[11]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateAus. viewers
1Episode 1Sian DaviesClaire Phillips19 September 2018 (2018-09-19)[a]0.58[12]
Teacher Paige Dunkeley moves to Melbourne to be with her boyfriend Daniel Fletcher, a footballer and the newest member of the Southern Jets Football Club. At a barbecue for the team, Paige meets the wives and girlfriends of the players; Kath, Tahlia, Maddy and Jessie. After a poor start to the pre-season, the team's coach, Brian Rickards announces that the players are returning to training camp the following day. Tahlia and the team's captain Connor Marrello also announce their engagement, while Kath and Brian later go into the city to continue their respective affairs. During a team bonding exercise at the camp, Jessie's husband Jack Davies dies while kayaking.
2Episode 2Sian DaviesChristine Bartlett26 September 2018 (2018-09-26)0.47[13]
Jack's funeral is held. Brian tells Kath that Jack's head injury was unlikely to have occurred from falling out of the kayak. Paige recalls seeing Jessie and Rusty having an intimate talk at the barbecue. Paige starts her first day teaching at the school. Tahlia confronts Connor after learning he is adopted, while Travis tells Maddy that he has signed on to play for another year. The Southern Jets win their first game, thanks to Daniel kicking the winning goal. Daniel later admits to Paige that Jack was alive after falling out of the kayak, but Connor told him to move on, leaving Jack and Rusty alone together.
3Episode 3Tori GarrettIan Meadows3 October 2018 (2018-10-03)0.47[14]
Rusty breaks up with his girlfriend Karlie, who gets drunk and tells Paige that Rusty and Jessie were having an affair. Karlie posts about the break up on social media, prompting Kath to ask Paige to speak with her. Paige is later blamed when someone talks to the press about Jessie and Rusty's suspected affair. Maddy learns Jessie is pregnant, while Tahlia clashes with Connor's mother, Diane. Kath ends her affair with her escort, and she later has sex with Connor. Rusty is called to speak at the inquest into Jack's death. He tells the coroner that he and Jack had an argument, before Jack fell out of the kayak. Rusty lies that no one else was there.
4Episode 4Tori GarrettChristine Bartlett10 October 2018 (2018-10-10)0.38[15]
After Lauren tells Brian that Rusty knows about their relationship, he ends it and decides to close his and Kath's open marriage. But Kath has sex with Connor again. Jessie learns that Karlie told the press about her supposed affair with Rusty, leading to the women coming together to apologise to Paige, who invites them and Lauren for a girls night out. Meanwhile, Rusty and Travis have a fight in the changing room, and Jack's death is ruled an accident. Travis later reveals to Maddy that he gave Jack Xanex, which he took before he died. Jessie meets with her boyfriend Nate, while Rusty contacts journalist Neil Murray to inform him that he is not having an affair with Jessie because he is gay.
5Episode 5Scott MajorChristine Bartlett and
Mithila Gupta
17 October 2018 (2018-10-17)0.36[16]
Tahlia encourages Paige to make some extra money by setting up a social media brand. Paige is later fired for filming one of her students without permission at a bar the previous night, while Connor refuses to take part in the shoot for Tahlia's new men's fragrance. Nate asks Jessie to move to Queensland to be with him. Brian and Connor express their support for Rusty at a press conference, but Andrew makes an insensitive joke and later tells Rusty that he would not be playing if it was up to him. Meanwhile, Paige makes a supportive social media post which goes viral, but it leads to a fight with Daniel. Maddy and Travis lose their nanny, after she tells them she has fallen in love.
6Episode 6Scott MajorAinslie Clouston24 October 2018 (2018-10-24)0.46[17]
Paige cannot find work, so her colleague Brody offers to speak to their boss on her behalf. Paige also meets up with one of her social media followers, who she thinks is trolling her, which leads to an argument with Daniel about their careers. Tahlia plans an elaborate engagement party and Connor tells her about his affair with Kath. Tahlia forces him to marry her during the party, and she ends her friendship with Kath. Meanwhile, Maddy and Travis struggle to find time to have sex, and they lose another nanny after he walks in on Travis masturbating. A paparazzo threatens to reveal Jessie's pregnancy to the press. Jessie invites Nate to the engagement party, but he is not ready to make their relationship public, so she goes alone. Rusty admits to Kath that he and Jack were in love.
7Episode 7Sian DaviesChristine Bartlett, Ian Meadows and Ainslie Clouston31 October 2018 (2018-10-31)0.40[18]
Tahlia and Connor attend counselling, but later realise their relationship is over. Andrew plans to start a foundation in Jack's name to benefit Jessie and the baby. He also employs Maddy in his divorce, and the women soon learn that he is dating Karlie. Travis passes a fitness test following an injury, but Brian tells him that there is no room for him on the team. Paige goes to a recruitment meeting, and Daniel invites Toni and Brody to the president's lunch for her. Jessie meets with Nate, who is reluctant to let everyone know that he is the baby's father. She later learns she is having a daughter. Tahlia tells Brian about Kath and Connor's affair, while Rusty tells Travis about his relationship with Jack.
8Episode 8Sian DaviesClaire Phillips7 November 2018 (2018-11-07)0.40[19]
  1. ^ The pilot episode received an early release on 12 September 2018.


Jessica Multari of TV Week called the series "a new TV obsession".[20] Multari found that "there's more to Ten's new Aussie series than socialites swanning around in stilettos supporting their sports star husbands. Scratch the surface and you'll find secrets, betrayal, deceit and heartache."[20] Praising the character of Paige, Multari said she won the audience over with her country charm and stole all of the scenes she was in.[20]

Bridget McManus of The Sydney Morning Herald also gave the series a positive response, writing "This is the Aussie Rules WAG drama that was begging to be made. With a murder mystery blighting the start of the season and rumours and innuendo flying like the proverbial at the ceiling fan, it's a story that could have been lifted straight from a gossip site."[21]

The Age's Karl Quinn said the show's "most obvious comparison is Footballers' Wives, the hysterically over-the-top soapie about English soccer WAGs. But while it has its share of funny moments, Playing For Keeps is a far more sober – and certainly less snarky – affair."[22]


  1. ^ "Playing for Keeps (2018)". Screen Australia. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  2. ^ Groves, Don (10 November 2017). "Ten unveils a new drama, comedies and pilots week". If Magazine. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b Lynch, Jessica (27 May 2018). "Playing For Keeps Is The Hot New Show You Need In Your Life". Ten daily. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Groves, Don (24 August 2018). "Secrets, lies and scandals in Network Ten/Screentime's 'Playing for Keeps'". If Magazine. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Ten announces premiere date of new Aussie drama Playing For Keeps". Mediaweek. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Ten announce cast for new drama Playing For Keeps". DeciderTV. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "Playing For Keeps: Meet the main players of Ten's sexy new drama". TV Week. TV Week. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  8. ^ Isrin, Kietley (25 May 2018). "Exclusive: Former Neighbours star Olympia Valance on exciting new role". TV Week. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Isabella Giovinazzo opens up about her big career move". TV Week. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  10. ^ Moran, Jonathon (29 June 2018). "From Summer Bay to the footy field, life after Home and Away for Isabella Giovinazzo". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ Moustafa, Abi (14 November 2018). "Channel Ten confirms Playing For Keeps is returning for Season 2". Who. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  12. ^ Knox, David (20 September 2018). "Comedy treats on Wednesday". TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  13. ^ Molk, Steve (27 September 2018). "Wednesday 26 September 2018". DeciderTV. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  14. ^ Knox, David (4 October 2018). "Drama tussle on Wednesday". TV Tonight. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  15. ^ Manning, James (11 October 2018). "TV Ratings October 10: A Current Affair finds The Honey Badger, Ali Oetjen back at TEN". Mediaweek. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  16. ^ Manning, James (18 October 2018). "TV Ratings October 17: Nine wins by narrow margin primary and combined". Mediaweek. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  17. ^ Manning, James (25 October 2018). "TV Ratings October 24: News and ob docs give Seven the edge". Mediaweek. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  18. ^ Knox, David (1 November 2018). "ABC shows flows across Wednesday, Seven takes win". TV Tonight. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  19. ^ Knox, David (1 November 2018). "ABC shows flows across Wednesday, Seven takes win". TV Tonight. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Multari, Jessica (19 September 2018). "Opinion: Why we're obsessed with Ten's new drama series Playing For Keeps". TV Week. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  21. ^ McManus, Bridget (23 September 2018). "What's on TV: Wednesday, September 26". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  22. ^ Quinn, Karl (5 October 2018). "From Bogan to WAG, Annie Maynard is Playing for Keeps". The Age. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

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