Geelong coach Chris Scott is “very, very optimistic” midfielder Tim Kelly will re-sign with the club when his contract expires at season’s end.
Kelly requested a trade to West Coast during last year’s player exchange period, citing homesickness and the need to support his young family.
The Eagles are tipped to come hard again for the smooth-moving on-baller, while Kelly is reportedly entertaining interest from Fremantle.
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But Scott said the 24-year-old’s return to Western Australia is far from a foregone conclusion.
“I am very, very optimistic that he’ll be a Geelong player for a long time,” Scott told Melbourne radio station SEN.
“I think it’s worthwhile saying here – and we’re not going to talk about it all year, but anyone that thinks it’s a forgone conclusion that Tim Kelly’s going to leave Geelong is mistaken.”
Kelly was the primary architect of Geelong’s upset seven-point win over Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night, bagging 31 touches, five marks and four tackles in a best-on-ground performance.
The South Fremantle product finished equal second in the Cats’ best-and-fairest during his debut season last year, after being plucked from the WAFL with pick 24 in the 2017 national draft.
It is understood Geelong rebuffed West Coast’s offer of picks 20 and 22 for Kelly, requesting a top-10 draft pick in exchange for the wantaway midfielder.
“Our list management team will work really hard on getting a good result for the club,” Scott said.
“I’d probably repeat the comments that Tim’s made already publicly, that none of us can predict the future – he’s really driven to win a premiership with Geelong.”