Splash the cash for Josh

Dem Panopoulos Roar Pro

By Dem Panopoulos, Dem Panopoulos is a Roar Pro

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16 Have your say

    Big money contracts aren’t new, and salaries will only continue to increase in the age of free agency.

    Lance Franklin’s contract was huge at the time of his signing with the Swans, while Tom Boyd’s big money move to the Bulldogs has copped criticism, despite it being completely justified with his role in the Bulldogs’ premiership victory in 2016.

    While the AFL will never reach the numbers of the ridiculous salaries NBA or football players receive overseas, there is one current player who deserves a contract worth $2 million a year, given his output.

    Josh Kelly is the best player in the competition at the moment, which is frightening given he is only 23 years of age.

    He has surpassed Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe and Dustin Martin to be classified as the best, and will join their company in being Brownlow Medalists by the end of the 2020 season.

    The valuation of players is dependent on a variety of intricate aspects of the AFL environment, whether it be position, age, style of play or potential, to name a few.

    Discussing Kelly as a $2 million player isn’t about front-ended or back-ended contracts.

    Whichever club can afford to, should be throwing $10 million over five years, or any equivalent, for the 23-year-old, which is hefty yet justifiable.

    No player has the combination of inside/outside ability, engine, tackling, kicking, disposal efficiency and scoreboard impact that Kelly has.

    Josh Kelly

    Josh Kelly of the Giants (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    Some may say he has shades of Simon Black, others Scott Pendlebury and perhaps even Simon Goodwin, but when someone has a portfolio of work as Kelly does, player comparisons are futile.

    In Round 20, albeit against Carlton, Kelly had a game for the ages.

    With 41 possessions (22 contested) at an astonishing 80 per cent efficiency, four goal assists, 16 score involvements, seven marks, ten clearances, 16 inside 50s and 928 metres gained is a stat-line some players won’t finish with in any three-week stretch throughout their entire careers.

    The thing about Kelly, though, is that he has been more influential in games against the best opposition.

    His footy smarts and ability to execute with both hand and foot means that even a 25-possession game without much impact in other statistics can result in a best-on-ground performance.

    Similar to the other big stars of the competition, Kelly has that inexplicable ‘it’ factor that separates him so grandly from everyone else.

    Time slows down when he has the ball in hand, yet he seems to be everywhere when he hasn’t got it.

    Throw him in rough situations in wet conditions and he’ll get vital clearances, or put him on the wing in perfect conditions and watch him speed past the opposition and finish classily from 50.

    He doesn’t need to be able to rest in the forward line one-out like the bigger midfielders, when he can slightly adjust his positioning across half-forward and still be a threat.

    Kelly’s finishing in front of goal is the only part of his game that he will need to improve upon, but an average of nearly two shots per game over the past two seasons suggests he will continue to back himself in attack.

    Everyone references the ‘complete midfielder’ when discussing how good players are.

    It’s a (questionable) criticism used on players like Tom Mitchell, while it’s positive affirmation for the aforementioned trio of Fyfe, Dangerfield and Martin.

    Josh Kelly GWS Giants AFL 2017

    The Giants are right on time to contend for the flag. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    No player in the AFL is more complete than Josh Kelly.

    This isn’t a case of investing on a player with potential, or overpaying for the sake of it, which North Melbourne seem to be in the business of doing this season.

    A team that wants a bona fide star, a new face of the club and a gun midfielder needs to cough up the money. This is particularly appealing for any team that hasn’t had a successful history, or 2018, but can turn things around quickly.

    Josh Kelly is well worth the $2 million per year investment, it’s now a matter of which club is willing to do it.

    It’s not often true AFL greats come around, but we have one here.

    Expect records to be shattered from a financial point of view at the end of 2019.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Guru

      August 9th 2018 @ 8:06am
      Peter the Scribe said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Not so sure about the logic in investing $2 million into one player when the 2018 AFL injury count has been horrendous. You wouldn’t want a knee or the problems Tom Boyd has shown to arise. Then there’s his teammates and their own potential earnings taking a massive hit. If the Pies threw 2 Million at Tom Lynch I would not be happy.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 11:46am
        truetigerfan said | August 9th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Imagine the Pies having a mid-fielder who can kick! With your forward line . . . unbeatable!

        • Roar Guru

          August 9th 2018 @ 2:28pm
          Peter the Scribe said | August 9th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report


          • August 9th 2018 @ 6:26pm
            truetigerfan said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

            Is that you, Cat?

          • August 9th 2018 @ 10:54pm
            peter chrisp said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

            True i am pretty happy with The Pies midfield so far

            • Roar Guru

              August 10th 2018 @ 7:59am
              Peter the Scribe said | August 10th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

              The same midfield that just smacked the Richmond one.

    • August 9th 2018 @ 9:46am
      Ditto said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      Not sure of the feasibility of one player who represents 2.5% of squad space, taking up 16% of salary space.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 3:47pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | August 9th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

        That argument only makes sense if you think the output of each player in a squad is equal to each other. Which it plainly isn’t…

    • August 9th 2018 @ 9:54am
      sammy said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      Well if North want him, here is how the crows can help 🙂

      We can give them our 2018 pick 19 (carlton 2nd rounder) and our 2019 1st round pick. They can in return give us their 2018 1st round pick and 2019 2nd round pick. The rationale is as follows:

      With the carlton pick 19 they get this year they still have the points for Tarryn Thomas from their academy who they will very likely want to take considering he is rated around the top 10 in the draft – or they might have to trade for Polec and can use that pick to land him. It also leaves them with 2 x 2019 1st round picks and with their 2020 1st rounder – they would have 3 1st round picks to go to GWS for Kelly if a trade had to happen and that would give them a whip hand for it – on top of the money they could offer.

      The crows get the extra 1st rounder they need to go after both Luksoius and Rankine (noting Carlton apparently have settled on taking Walsh at pick 1) so a deal with GC & say Brisbane might be on the cards.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 11:30am
        Billy Mumphrey said | August 9th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        Why would North give up a first and second round pick for 2 second round picks?

        • August 9th 2018 @ 12:07pm
          sammy said | August 9th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          Even if the crows win next years flag in 2019 – it is still a 1st round pick. North get a 2018 2nd and 2019 1st, the crows get a 2018 1st and 2019 2nd. North get the points for their NGA this year and get the extra 1st rounder to go for Kelly next year

    • August 9th 2018 @ 10:05am
      Aligee said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Not sure you can build a team around one midfielder using as another poster said 16% of your salary cap ( if that is correct).

      Kelly needs a host of other midfielders and foils to allow him time and space.

      GWS allows him that.

      Better off staying where he is and winning a flag there before moving on, FWIW despite GWS injury concerns i still think they have a big chance this year.

      • Roar Pro

        August 9th 2018 @ 10:46am
        Doran Smith said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        The GWS are a better side with Kelly in it and any side who recruited him would also be.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 9th 2018 @ 12:53pm
      Jed Lanyon said | August 9th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      $2 million seems like too much of a team’s salary cap, would almost certainly squeeze out talent at any club. He’s a gun though, hope he stays with GWS

    • August 9th 2018 @ 1:47pm
      Tim said | August 9th 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

      Buddy got $1 million a year because of marketing. Eddie Betts gets more money and a longer contract. They are worth every cent.

      To atttact a high salary a player needs to put bums on seats through making the side more winnable or by being a face that people recognise.

      Noone recognises Kelly so 2 million a year had better deliver 4 prelims and a couple of premierships. He’s not that good on his own.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 3:50pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | August 9th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

        Good point. Perhaps the Swans might be a logical fit for Kelly then – they are the kings of marketing. As Buddy is winding down his career, Kelly would be coming into his prime and could become the ‘face’ of the Swans. And God knows Sydney needs a midfielder or two right now!

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