West Coast is faced with their own setback in an attempt to conjure up a deal for Geelong’s Tim Kelly, with the superstar midfielder still eager to return home to Western Australia at the conclusion of this season.
Kelly turns 25 later this month, and arguably one of the best performers out of any player in the competition this year, he’s currently the hot favourite to win the prestigious Brownlow Medal – the league’s highest individual honour.
Right now, Geelong are in the driver’s seat. They are extremely confident that Kelly will continue to play with their club beyond 2019.
Kelly’s rapid rise to one of the league’s premier players has helped Geelong, who will want a reasonable trade package for Western Australian’s services.
The factors weighing Kelly’s decision is unquestionably his young family, who had to shift to Geelong to help support Kelly’s career.
Despite coming out of contract at year’s end, he’s not actually eligible for free agency meaning the Eagles will need to work a deal that will convince Geelong to let him go. Right now, the Eagles face the challenge of offering a fair deal, they are currently inside the top-four with no high draft picks ahead and don’t really look like sliding.
On the other end, Kelly is currently leading the Coaches’ Player of the Year votes among other awards, bringing his trade value higher each week he runs out.
On Fox Footy’s AFL 360, co-host Mark Robinson said the “going rate” for Kelly would have to be two first-round draft selections. Geelong asked for at least one top-10 pick when Kelly requested a trade to West Coast late last year.
Whateley then continued to explain what the situation will look like if a deal can’t be worked. Kelly would need to enter either the national or pre-season draft.
“If you can’t get the deal done and then it’s into the draft, you go ‘could he get through to West Coast on big money?’ No way,” Whateley said.
“St Kilda and North Melbourne have got money they’re desperate to spend … if you max out the money from what West Coast can do – and I doubt they can hit a million (dollars) – St Kilda and North can do that in a doddle. We know that, we know how much space they’ve got, we know they haven’t been able to spend it.
“He can’t get tipped into the pre-season draft – or get tipped into the draft to get to West Coast. How do you get a deal done?”
For Geelong coach Chris Scott, he’s just as eager to hear Kelly’s decision, and wants him to tell the club sooner rather than later. Scott also understands that it’s difficult not to think about the possibility of him wanting out again, but remains confident that he will stay.
“You have to .. (but) I think the club is in a very, very, very strong position – almost couldn’t be much stronger really,” Scott said.
“I think about it, but I think a lot more about what it would be like having Tim on our list for the next six to eight years or however long his career goes for because that makes me feel a lot more happy.”