TIM KELLY is officially an Eagle.
In a deal revealed by AFL.com.au, West Coast has agreed to send two first-round picks and selection No.24, plus engage in a late swap of picks for the gun midfielder from Geelong.
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After a failed attempt to return home to Western Australia 12 months ago, Kelly will join West Coast on a six-year deal valued at more than $4m.
The Cats receive this year’s picks 14, 24 and 37 plus next year’s first-round selection in exchange for Kelly, pick 57 and a future third-round selection.
The deal also involved Essendon with the Bombers receiving pick No.33 from the Eagles and pick No.57 from Geelong, while giving up pick No.37 to the Cats and No.52 to the Eagles.
It is expected pick 37 will unlock Geelong’s pursuit of contracted St Kilda midfielder Jack Steven, with the Saints to receive a second-round pick.
The Saints will then pay part of his wage for the 2020 season.
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Eagles football manager Craig Vozzo was thrilled they finally had their man.
It’s a done deal!
— AFL (@AFL) October 9, 2019
“Absolutely delighted. It’s been a fair while in the making, and wonderful to acquire – finally – Tim to our footy club,” Vozzo said.
“He’s an elite player, probably his first two years in the AFL are as good as I can remember in recent times. Adding an elite player, particularly to our midfield, should really help in terms of what we can generate out of that area of the ground.”
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Cats list manager Stephen Wells said they were as happy as they could be.
“Once Tim decided that he was going ot go back to Western Australia and he nominated the West Coast Eagles, we had to work in good faith with them to try and do the best deal we could for the Geelong football club. To the West Coast Eagles’ great credit, they’ve delivered us two first-round picks and two second-round picks, and in return we’ve given them two third-round picks,” Wells said.
“As happy as we could be under the circumstances, we’re losing an outstanding player of course but receiving these draft picks does give us an opportunity to look at our list in a different way over the next couple of years.”
Kelly’s manager Anthony Van Der Wielen said he was “very relieved and very happy” to strike a deal that allows his client to return to his native state.
The trade had been the culmination of discussions with the two clubs over “the best part of 18 months”, he said.
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“Twelve months ago, I suppose, when he missed out on the trade it was always going to be this way,” Van Der Wielen told Telstra AFL Trade Radio.
“But he did absolutely give it his best shot to go back to Geelong and try and do his best to have the family live in Geelong …
“He didn’t do it lightly. He really enjoyed his playing footy time at Geelong but it didn’t really sit well with the family.”
Perth rival Fremantle had “not really” been an option for Kelly, Van Der Wielen said, because it wasn’t deemed the best option for him and his family.