Playing for Keeps (TV series)
|Playing for Keeps|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Rory Callaghan|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network||Network Ten|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||19 September 2018 –|
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. It focuses on the women behind the men of an Australian rules football club. The concept for the series was created by Rick Maier, the head of drama at the network. Playing for Keeps is produced by Screentime, and has received investment from Screen Australia and Film Victoria. 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.
In May 2018, it was announced Madeleine West, Cece Peters, Annie Maynard, and Olympia Valance, had been cast as the wives and girlfriends. West plays Kath Rickards, who is married to the coach and acts as a "mentor and den mother." 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. 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." The following month, Isabella Giovinazzo was cast as Jessie Davies, a former footballer married to one of the club's players.
Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Jackson Gallagher, Kevin Hofbauer, George Pullar, James Mason, and Ethan Panizza also joined the ensemble cast. Taylor is the team's coach Brian Rickards, Gallagher plays Tahlia's fiancé Connor Marrello, Hofbauer is "admired club veteran" Travis Cochrane, while Pullar, Mason and Panizza portray footballers Daniel Fletcher, Jack Davies, and Rusty O'Reilly respectively. Paul Ireland was cast as Andrew Macleish, the president of the Southern Jets. 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."
Filming for the show began on 4 June 2018 in Melbourne. The eight-part series began airing on 19 September 2018 on Network Ten and WIN Television. The first episode was available to view one week early on the catch-up service Tenplay. On 14 November 2018, Network Ten announced the show had been renewed for a second season, which will air in 2019.
- Madeleine West as Kath Rickards
- Annie Maynard as Maddy Cochrane
- Cece Peters as Paige Dunkeley
- Olympia Valance as Tahlia Woods
- Isabella Giovinazzo as Jessie Davies
- Jeremy Lindsay Taylor as Brian Rickards
- George Pullar as Daniel Fletcher
- Jackson Gallagher as Connor Marrello
- Kevin Hofbauer as Travis Cochrane
- Ethan Panizza as Rusty O'Reilly
- James Mason as Jack Davies
- Paul Ireland as Andrew Macleish
- Miriama Smith as Dr Lauren Gambi
- Alicia Banit as Karlie Lum
- Georgina Naidu as Toni Chadha
- Nick Russell as Brody Schneider
- Christopher Brown as Neil Murray
- Tom O'Sullivan as Nate Sabo
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Aus. viewers|
|1||Episode 1||Sian Davies||Claire Phillips||19 September 2018[a]||0.58|
|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.|
|2||Episode 2||Sian Davies||Christine Bartlett||26 September 2018||0.47|
|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.|
|3||Episode 3||Tori Garrett||Ian Meadows||3 October 2018||0.47|
|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.|
|4||Episode 4||Tori Garrett||Christine Bartlett||10 October 2018||0.38|
|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.|
|5||Episode 5||Scott Major||Christine Bartlett and|
|17 October 2018||0.36|
|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.|
|6||Episode 6||Scott Major||Ainslie Clouston||24 October 2018||0.46|
|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.|
|7||Episode 7||Sian Davies||Christine Bartlett, Ian Meadows and Ainslie Clouston||31 October 2018||0.40|
|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.|
|8||Episode 8||Sian Davies||Claire Phillips||7 November 2018||0.40|
- The pilot episode received an early release on 12 September 2018.
Jessica Multari of TV Week called the series "a new TV obsession". 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." 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.
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."
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."
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