AFL trade rumours: Every man and his dog keen on Josh Kelly

Josh Elliott Editor

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    AFL trade talk is getting to the point where soon it’ll be easier to list the clubs who haven’t been linked with Josh Kelly than the ones who have.

    Carlton were the latest, on Monday night, less than 24 hours after the Blues defeated the Giants by a single point, with Jonathan Brown suggesting that the Blues were not only keen on Kelly, but the potential frontrunners for his services.

    How accurate are Brown’s comments? So much gets tossed around the media these days – and only some of it ever comes to pass – that unless everyone is saying the same thing, you’ve got to make the conclusion that nobody is 100 per cent sure what’s really going on.

    That said, the Blus being into Kelly passes the sense test. Stephen Silvagni drafted him to Greater Western Sydney at pick No.2, and no doubt would be over the moon to have him come to Carlton. They may not have planned to go for it this year, but after talk started about him earlier this season they would be foolish not to have thrown their hat in the ring.

    Frontrunners though? That remains to be seen.

    North Melbourne, who started the conversation, and also St Kilda have been heavily linked to Kelly. North have made no secret of having made a $9 million offer over nine years, and while pundits originally scoffed, many are now asking if that’s even enough.

    Look, where Kelly might wind up next year is nothing but speculation at this point, and there’s every chance he might still re-sign with GWS, who met with his manager in Melbourne on the weekend. The more time passes though, the less likely that seems.

    Having been the club to first ask the question of Kelly, and being the one he has a family connection with, I suspect North have the inside track on chasing his signature – but I’m a North fan and an optimist, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Josh Kelly GWS Giants AFL 2016

    (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

    What’s amazing is that Kelly has almost eclipsed Nat Fyfe and Dustin Martin, widely seen as the two biggest fish on the market before the year began.

    I put up a poll on Twitter this morning, asking who the people would pick first of the three to have at their club next year – the results should filter in throughout the day, but my tip is Kelly will be the preferred pick.

    Fyfe is proving to be a difficult case to read. St Kilda recently ruled themselves out of the chase for him in a very public fashion, which leaves him without an obvious suitor.

    The rumour has been that he wants $1.5 million to move to a Victorian club but, given he hasn’t been able to recapture his top form this year, it’s not clear if there’s anyone coming forward for that.

    Still, we learnt yesterday that he’s been playing through the pain of severe chest bruising, and personally, I would be more than happy as a club to roll the dice on him returning to his very best in the future. Go bold or go home.

    Regarding Martin, there was a brief flare-up of news about Essendon being interested in him, though it was in the lead-up to their game against the Tigers and I wouldn’t be surprised if it can largely be put down to media mind games.

    It was very briefly said that the Bombers had made Martin an offer of as much as $1.6 million a year, but they issued a statement shortly after this came out saying it was categorically incorrect. Goes to show just how nervous clubs are about spending that kind of money on a single player, and fair enough.

    That being the case, it seems North Melbourne is still the club most advanced in their pursuit of Martin, having reportedly made a six-year offer worth more than a million a year, and at this stage they would be the most likely destination should he decided to leave the Tigers.

    Of course, both Fyfe and Martin may well decide to remain with their current clubs. If I had to go on gut feel, I’d say Martin stays, and Fyfe is pretty much 50-50 – that’s nothing but my own speculation, of course, and I reserve the right to joke and fantasise about Kelly and Martin both coming to North.

    Just for fun though, I did ask Twitter a little while ago who they’d pick if choosing between ‘Dangerwood’ or the theoretical combination of Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly (Keltin? Marly?) if North Melbourne somehow landed both. The results…

    Dustin Martin Richmond Tigers AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    A little bit of news that was very unexpected but also very welcome last week was Josh Schache’s decision to re-sign with Brisbane for two years. The situation seemed to be turning south rapidly, but it’s nice to see a happy ending for once. We can close the book on this one.

    There may be another good news story for Queensland football on the way soon too, with news yesterday that Steven May is likely to rebuff overtures from Hawthorn and re-sign with the Gold Coast Suns, where he is co-captain alongside Tom Lynch.

    Jason Johannisen reportedly has another suitor interested in his signature – West Coast. That makes both of the clubs in his home state, as well as Essendon, as potential destinations that the out-of-contract Bulldog has been linked with.

    Two Geelong free agents, Steven Motlop and Daniel Menzel, have their options open at the moment. Motlop and Geelong haven’t sat down to contract talks at all just yet, and it wouldn’t surprise if the Cats let him go to make room for Gary Ablett.

    Menzel is a different story, and I’d suspect the Cats want to retain him. However, he did say a little while ago that he wouldn’t rule out a potential return to South Australia. No suggestion as to which club he might join, but his brother Troy does play with the Crows.

    Also in the free-agent stakes, there was a rumour that North Melbourne have offered Port Adelaide’s Jasper Pittard $3 million over five years. I’m not sold on this one being all that likely if North are genuinely into Martin and Kelly, but worth keeping an eye on.

    Is there any chance that Mitch McGovern could be the missing link in a Bryce Gibbs trade between Adelaide and Carlton? There has been a little talk linking him to the Blues, though a move home to Fremantle or West Coast seems more likely if he opts to leave Adelaide.

    Have also seen a little talk that Sydney might be interested in scooping up Richmond’s Anthony Miles, who has fallen out of the best 22 at the Tigers this year. Could add a little more grunt for them, and it would make him the third player to play games for both NSW teams.

    There’s also been talk that Kurt Tippett could be on the way out of Sydney if a club is willing to take on his large salary, and the Swans decision to drop him this week shows they’re not happy with him at the moment. I talked in detail about this on Sunday night.

    There was a brief flurry of interest last week when Jack Gunston admitted that anything was possible at the end of the year given questions about whether Hawthorn might look to trade him to get back into the draft – but Alastair Clarkson shut down that talk very quickly, saying it was highly unlikely the Hawks would trade Gunston or any of their other stars.

    Alastair Clarkson Hawthorn Hawks AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    I asked the Twitterverse last night if there was anyone they wanted to hear about today, so here we go. By all means if you want to talk about a player, tweet me, or mention them in the comments!

    Sorry, Ryan.

    Reckon it’ll take a fair bit of haggling to get him across the line, Adam Treloar style, so let’s say October 18, the day before trade period closes.

    Can’t see Lever moving personally – I don’t think Collingwood, or any club for that matter, can offer him something Adelaide can’t at the moment. They’ve got salary cap room and the promise of success, and he’s a country boy so the lure of playing in Melbourne won’t be especially strong.

    Haven’t heard anything regarding Fiorini and would be surprised if he moved given he’s contracted until the end of 2018.

    Wishful thinking!

    Seems unlikely!

    That’s it for now, but by all means let’s get the conversation rolling in the comments. Where do you think the big three will be in 2018?

    Oh, and don’t forget, we’ve got a handy little page here on The Roar that we’re updating with the latest rumours as they come in. Bookmark it!

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.