Cats asked AFL for more money for Kelly
Geelong went to extraordinary lengths in a bid to keep Tim Kelly, including asking the AFL for money outside its salary cap to assist the star midfielder and his young family.
After a year of speculation, Kelly eventually requested a move to, and landed at West Coast during last month's trade period to be closer to family in Western Australia.
The Cats were so desperate to keep the silky onballer it was willing to do whatever it took to keep him, including paying for members of his family to move to Geelong.
The club lobbied to the AFL to be given assistance outside the salary cap to help make Kelly and his family feel more comfortable and supported off the field.
"I think we did," Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said when asked whether the club did all it could to retain him.
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"One of the issues for us is that to do what we needed to do to make sure it was as comfortable as possible for the Kelly family was near impossible in the end because it would have needed the parents to come over, all sorts of assistance around the home, all of those things.
"We helped in those areas but we weren't - we went to the AFL and asked for some extra help in terms of money outside the TPP (Total Player Payments) because these things cost money.
"The AFL knocked us back.
"So it made it really hard for us to do to the 100 per cent that we wanted to help him. We nearly got there but we couldn't."
Geelong received top dollar from West Coast in the trade for Kelly, landing picks 14, 24, 37 and a future first-round pick.
It gives the Cats their strongest hand at the draft in almost two decades.
But the benefits of the trade are far greater, Cook says, and will be felt by the rest of the competition despite Kelly's arrival at the Eagles handing them one of the game's most powerful midfields.
"I thought it was a win-win-win. Win for us, win for Kelly and win for the West Coast Eagles," Cook told SEN.
"The fact they've got to put some large amount of money into their TPP that wasn't there last year, which means their (salary cap) is being squeezed, helps us too I think and a lot of other clubs."