No Gaff has North ramping up Kelly pursuit
NORTH Melbourne will up the ante for Greater Western Sydney midfield jet Josh Kelly after its bid for West Coast running machine Andrew Gaff failed on Sunday.
The Kangaroos missed out on another priority midfield target when Gaff turned down their $1.2 million-a-year offer to remain with the Eagles, in a huge boost to the club's hopes of back-to-back flags.
West Coast's offer for Gaff was believed to be $300,000 to $400,000 a year less than the Roos', costing the Melburnian more than $2 million to stay in the west.
After missing out on Kelly's prized signature a year ago, North will seek board approval once again to try to tempt the slick left-foot midfielder to Arden St with one of the game's richest long-term deals.
The Kangaroos are desperate to land a big-name midfield recruit after missing out on Richmond's Dustin Martin, Collingwood's Adam Treloar and Jordan De Goey, and Sydney's Isaac Heeney in recent years.
North says its big-money bids for A-grade talent will be successful and support the club's quest for its next flag.
Kelly is widely recognised as one of the AFL's most polished midfielders.
Along with Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli, Kelly would command more than $1.5 million a year to change clubs.
But unlike Gaff, Kelly, 23, is not yet eligible for free agency, as the 100-gamer prepares to enter his sixth AFL season in 2019.