One of the worst-kept secrets in the AFL world has finally been rubber-stamped, with wantaway Geelong superstar Tim Kelly nominating the West Coast Eagles as the club of choice in his request to return home to Western Australia.
Kelly unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a move to the Eagles in last year’s trade period, but was made to see out his two-year contract as West Coast were unable to meet Geelong’s high demands for the 25-year-old.
The Cats released a brief statement, hinting that they may force him to accept a move to Fremantle if the Dockers can muster up a better trade.
“Tim Kelly has asked that the club trade him to Western Australia, with his preference being to play with the West Coast Eagles.
“Tim is out of contract but is not a free agent.
“The club will explore all options in regard to Tim’s request.”
Kelly was selected with pick 24 of the 2017 draft as a mature-age recruit from South Fremantle in the WAFL. He took out the AFL Players’ Association’s best first-year player award in 2018 after averaging 23 disposals, 3.5 tackles, and four inside 50s per game, but made headlines after demanding a trade home despite playing in the AFL for just one season.
This year, he averaged 25 disposals, 4.2 tackles and 4.4 inside 50s in a superb year that saw him finish fifth in the Brownlow medal count.
Geelong coach Chris Scott has previously said he “can’t see a way” for a deal to get done.