Cats superstar officially wants out
GEELONG second-year superstar Tim Kelly has officially requested a trade to return back to his home state of Western Australia to join the West Coast Eagles.
The move comes a year after Kelly asked the club to send him home, but without a trade able to be made to satisfy the Cats he remained in Geelong to see out his contract.
The Cats had hoped Kelly's mindset would change and he'd stick around in Geelong, but returning home where his young family will have a strong support network in his native Western Australia was too big of a pull.
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Geelong host their 2019 best and fairest award tomorrow night. The Cats released a statement on their club site shortly after the news was announced.
"Tim Kelly has asked that the club trade him to Western Australia, with his preference being to play with the West Coast Eagles," the statement read.
"Tim is out of contract but is not a free agent.
"The club will explore all options in regard to Tim's request."
Kelly earned All-Australian honours in only his second season in the league and finished fifth in the 2019 Brownlow Medal with 24 votes.
The Cats have left the door open for Fremantle to remain active in negotiations despite Kelly officially requesting a move to the Eagles.
But after ruling out a trade to the Dockers last season, his manager clarified why the Eagles where the preferred landing spot.
"West Coast can best provide the right environment for him and his family to prosper," Kelly's manager Anthony Van Der Wielen said in a statement.
"This is not a decision that Tim has taken lightly. I know he is forever grateful for the opportunity the Geelong FC have given him and he has enjoyed being able to represent the club. Something which I think we all agree he has done to the best of his ability over the past two seasons."
"It is well know by all that are close to Tim and his partner Caitlin that their young family are dealing with some significant challenges with two of their three children being classified as autistic.
Tim Kelly has officially requested a trade to West Coast— Daniel Cherny 📰 (@DanielCherny) October 2, 2019
"Tim and his family need to be at home surrounded by family and friends who can best assist them with therapy and support.
"After careful consideration Tim and Caitlin believe that West Coast can best provide the right environment for him and his family to prosper."
Geelong are expected to push hard for a monster haul in return for the star midfielder with coach Chris Scott stating on Fox Footy's AFL 360 it would take "four first round picks and Dustin Martin" to get the deal done.
"We'll fight really hard to keep Tim. I just can't see a way a trade can be done, personally," Scott said.
The Eagles have picks 14, 22, 32 and 59 in this year's NAB AFL Draft in order to complete a deal.
In September it was reported the Eagles' offer to Kelly would see him earn nearly $5 million over a six-year contract.
Kelly was instrumental in the preliminary final for the Cats, his last game in the famed blue and white hoops. He finished with 31 disposals and kicked three goals as the Cats fell to the eventual premiers Richmond.
Despite Kelly nominating the West Coast Eagles, Fremantle are expected to make a heavy push for the star and could potentially offer two first round picks to Geelong.