Geelong are prepared to play hardball over Tim Kelly, declaring it is “highly likely” he will be made to see out his contract at the club next season.
The first-year revelation has officially requested a trade back to WA to join reigning premiers West Coast once the trade period gets underway on Monday.
But with one year remaining on his draft contract, and AFL regulations limiting his earning potential regardless of destination, a statement from the Cats indicated they would be prepared to hold him to his deal or shop him to Fremantle if a better deal becomes available.
“Tim Kelly has asked that the club explore the possibility of trading him to his home state, Western Australia,” the Cats statement read.
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“As is well known, Tim is under contract to the Cats for the 2019 season, and it is highly likely he will remain with the club.
“However out of respect for Tim, we will listen to what Fremantle and West Coast are prepared to offer and determine whether or not we believe it is a viable trade for our club.”
Speaking on SEN radio on Friday, Kelly’s manager Anthony van der Wielen, said family was behind the decision to ask for a trade.
He said he believed the Cats were a better chance of getting fair value while Kelly is under contract.
“At this stage he wants to go home right now and I can’t see that to be any different in 12 months time, in fact it would probably be stronger I would think,” he said.
“That’s why I hope both clubs can work out a way forward for this.
“It’s in everyone’s best interests while he still has more currency, Geelong can hopefully get something out of it as well, rather when he comes out of contract next year.”