Geelong coach Chris Scott is optimistic about the Cats’ chances of signing star midfielder Tim Kelly to a new AFL contract beyond this season.
Kelly, who is out of contract at the end of the year, was a revelation in his stunning debut season and has taken his game to another level to be installed as bookmakers favourite for the 2019 Brownlow Medal.
Citing family reasons, Kelly requested a trade to West Coast last year and it has been widely expected he will attempt to take his young family home to Perth again at the end of this campaign.
Scott doesn’t know for certain where Kelly sees his football future, but he told reporters on Wednesday that the signs are positive he will remain in Geelong.
“If you separate the footy side, which has never been in doubt – he’s having the time of his life on the footy field and is playing accordingly,” Scott said.
“But his family life, according to him and he’s said it publicly, is much better than it was.
“I think that has less to do with where he’s living and more to do with the fact that his twins are a year older.
“They can be a handful, young kids, for anyone … much less having moved across the country and playing AFL footy every week with all of the difficulties that entails.
“If Tim’s happiness is the measure then I think it’s all on track.”
Scott said that the club would like to know Kelly’s intentions sooner rather than later.
But he conceded the list management team will continue to plan for the player movement period with multiple scenarios in play.
Despite growing confidence the 24-year-old will stay, Scott said it would be naive not to think about the possibility of another trade request.
“You have to … (but) I think the club is in a very, very, very strong position – almost couldn’t be much stronger really,” he 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.”
The ladder-leading Cats take on the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, with superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield (hip) likely to play.