GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - MAY 4: Tim Kelly of the Cats kicks the ball ahead of Callan Ward of the Giants during the 2018 AFL round seven match between the Geelong Cats and the GWS Giants at GMHBA Stadium on May 4, 2018 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Melbourne great Garry Lyon says Cats midfielder Tim Kelly could be one of the best in the competition in 2019.

Lyon watched the 24-year-old at the club’s training session on Monday.

“You just thought no wonder Geelong are so hell-bent on trying to keep him,” he told SEN Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

“They’re going to move heaven and earth to ensure he stays there.

“He’s had one year of AFL footy.

“You know what it’s like, once you’re in, once you’ve had a taste, you get the benefit of the work that you do, that can take a long time to kick in.

“There’s no question he’ll go to another level.

“He could very well be by the end of the year in the absolute elite category of midfielder.”

Kelly had requested a trade home to West Coast in the off-season after his first year of AFL football, but a deal couldn’t be struck, leaving him at the Cats in 2019.

In his debut AFL season, the 24-year-old rookie averaged 23 disposals per game and kicked 23 goals.