CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05: Josh Kelly of the Giants celebrates a goal during the round 20 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Melbourne Demons at UNSW Canberra Oval on August 5, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Essendon are understood to have pulled out of the race for Greater Western Sydney midfielder Josh Kelly.

The Bombers are one of several Victorian clubs tipped to have shown interest in the 26-year-old, who is a restricted free agent in 2021.

North Melbourne are reportedly leading the chase to lure Kelly away from the Harbour City, however according to The Herald Sun's report, the flashy onballer's chances of re-signing with the Giants are increasing.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Josh Kelly of the Giants in action during the round 11 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Essendon Bombers at Spotless Stadium on June 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Kelly is able to trigger an eight-year, $8 million clause in his contract should he opt to remain in New South Wales, a deal that would place him amongst the league's top-echelon earners.

The Bombers are believed to be cashed-up this year, but will now likely prioritise the retention of breakout star Darcy Parish past this year.

Parish has flourished in the red sash in 2021, becoming one of the league's best contested ball-winners across the opening 16 rounds of the season.

Out-of-contract at season's end, Essendon will be keen to secure his services for the long-haul, while also looking to sort a new extension for exciting forward Jake Stringer.

Stringer and the Bombers are understood to be at some level of loggerheads, with the spearhead reportedly turning down the Bombers' latest contract offer.

Essendon recently secured the re-signing of star midfielder Zach Merrett, and will now look to retain the aforementioned off-contract duo.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Josh Kelly of the Giants is tackled during the round 11 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Essendon Bombers at Spotless Stadium on June 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

These in-house priorities will factor in the Bombers removing themselves from the race for Kelly's signature, leaving the Giants, Kangaroos and a number of Victorian clubs in the chase.

According to The Herald Sun, the Blues and Saints are tipped to have the wiggle room accessible should a desirable target emerge.

Carlton have recently secured Patrick Cripps and harry McKay to new deals, while young gun Sam Walsh is likely to be seen as a key retention signing this year despite being contracted until the end of the 2022 season.