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Tim Kelly officially requests trade to West Coast

The Eagles hold picks 14, 24, 33 and 61 as well as retaining the option of trading future picks.

The Dockers are keen on Kelly but recognise they are not his preferred option. However, with the club potentially having two first-round picks after Brad Hill is traded to St Kilda, they would be in a position to make a strong offer to the Cats.

Geelong released a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying it would “explore all options in regard to Tim’s request”.

Kelly’s manager Anthony Van Der Wielen said that Kelly had not made his decision lightly.

“I know he is forever grateful for the opportunity the Geelong Football Club 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,” Van Der Wielen said.

“It is well known 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 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.”

The Cats would prefer to deal with Fremantle as they have greater collateral than West Coast and are also less likely to contend for the premiership.

Geelong list manager Stephen Wells had said this week that the club had held very preliminary talks with Eagles and Dockers officials to see what might be on offer.

The Cats, who hold  picks 17, 36, 54 and 90, are likely to seek two first-round draft picks in exchange for Kelly, who finished fifth in the 2019 Brownlow Medal and was named All-Australian for the first time, having finished second in the club best and fairest in 2018.

He was overlooked in five drafts and was contemplating taking up boxing before the Cats took a punt on the midfielder from South Fremantle at the 2017 national draft. They used pick 24 to select him ahead of West Coast, who had used picks 13 and 21 to pick Jarrod Brander and Oscar Allen ahead of Kelly.

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The Eagles failed in a bid to secure him at the end of 2018 when talks were unresolved at the conclusion of the trade period, however Kelly did not miss a beat in 2019, showing his class for the Cats again.

Kelly kicked three goals and had 30 disposals to be Geelong’s best player in their preliminary final loss to Richmond and he is certain to finish first or second in Thursday night’s Carji Greeves Medal with Patrick Dangerfield – who was runner-up in the Brownlow Medal – and Tom Stewart the only other realistic contenders for the Cats’ best and fairest award.

Geelong have been aware Kelly was likely to request a trade for some time and have been understanding of his wish to return to Western Australia. However they worked hard to keep him and he has had an offer in front of him from the Cats in the second half of the season.

The Cats have been working to secure experienced midfielders for 2020, with St Kilda’s Jack Steven set to join Geelong. North Melbourne’s Shaun Higgins flirted with the idea of joining the Cats before recommitting to the Kangaroos.

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