Tim Kelly’s request to return home and play for West Coast is on ice after the Cats refused a trade.Tim Kelly is guaranteed the sort of AFL spotlight that follows star Geelong teammates Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield.
Already a revelation with his outstanding debut year, Kelly’s unsuccessful trade bid means the midfielder will be one of the ongoing stories of next season.
There will be regular speculation about his future – he comes out of contract this time next year – and how all that might affect his on-field form.
Kelly’s requested trade to West Coast was the only major deal that did not happen before the Wednesday night deadline.
He requested a move back to his home state for family reasons.
Kelly and partner Caitlin have three young sons, including twins.
After being overlooked in five drafts, Kelly joined Geelong as a mature-age recruit.
He enjoyed a stellar debut season, finishing equal-second in Geelong’s best and fairest voting.
That ensured the Cats would drive a hard bargain with the Eagles, with the premiers now keen to add Kelly to their midfield after previously overlooking him in the draft.
“The problem is Geelong rate him just as highly as we do,” said West Coast list manager Brady Rawlings.
Geelong also tried to broker a deal with Fremantle, but Kelly was adamant that he wanted to join the Eagles or stay put.
Cats list manager Stephen Wells is confident that Kelly will not waver next year at Geelong.
“To our great delight, Tim is very keen to get back to Geelong and play good footy next year,” Wells said.
“If we weren’t confident of that, we may have been a little bit more inclined to do the deal.”
Wells was not quite so adamant about signing Kelly to a new deal.
“We’re not sure about that … we ‘ll be happy to talk to him and his manager about extending his contract if we can, but that will be a little bit in their hands,” he said.