MOISES HENRIQUES BRAVERY: Henriques took a break from the game at the end of 2017 after dealing with depression, and has since been happy to share his journey the public to raise awareness.
“‘Moey’ and I are really good mates, and to see his progression as a cricketer – from Sixer to being in the Australian squad – has been really fulfilling,” O’Keefe tells the Herald.
“But when he opened up and showed us his vulnerability about his mental health issues, that was really brave and allowed other players in that space to speak up.
“I remember thinking he was a guy I was so close with yet I never picked up on anything. To say I need help, to see him bounce back and play the way he is playing, and to start a young family, that is No. 1 on the list of my highlights.”
O’Keefe also said the rise of Jodie Hawkins from media manager to general manager was a brilliant feat.
BBL1 FINAL: The Sixers travelled to Perth in 2012 and triumphed by seven wickets with O’Keefe and Henriques opening the batting. Mitchell Marsh whacked an unbeaten 77 to 57 balls for the hosts and set 157 for victory, a total easily mowed down after the 110-run opening stand.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TROPHY 2012: The Sixers went through the tournament undefeated and with the likes of a young Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Henriques and Steve Smith, as well as Brad Haddin and a brief cameo from Shane Watson, O’Keefe was happy to label the line-up “the best team I’ve ever played in talent wise – it was a team of all-stars”.
BRETT LEE’S RETIREMENT GAME: Lee was playing his last game at the SCG in 2015 when the Sixers needed 23 runs off the final over against the Thunder.
Jordan Silk whacked two sixes to advance to 69, then scurried through for a single and left O’Keefe needing two boundaries from as many balls to win.
“I remember ‘Silky’ walking down the crease shaking his head and saying ‘sorry’,” O’Keefe said. “I just said ‘I’ll hit it as hard as I can’. I nicked the first one and then pulled one to the short side. It was such a great moment. There was 35,000 fans, but I reckon half the crowd had left by then because they thought the game was done and dusted.”
LAST SUMMER’S FINAL: The SCG copped 180mm of rain in three days before the heavens parted just long enough for the Sixers to triumph over the Melbourne Stars in the final.
COVID BUBBLE LIFE: It’s been just over 70 days now the Sixers have been on the road. They have spent this week in a hotel in North Sydney, which is extra cruel for O’Keefe considering his actual home is just 10km away.
“There have been various times every player has kicked the can and said, ‘I want to go home’ and become fed up with looking at the same four walls, being told what you can and can’t do and where you and can’t eat,” O’Keefe said. All teams have managed it. It will all be worth it if we win.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.