‘Wary’ Cats keen to secure Kelly long-term
GEELONG remains wary of Tim Kelly's contract status with the midfield revelation yet to decide if he'll re-commit to the club.
The West Australian is averaging 22 disposals and four clearances across his first seven games after the Cats snatched him from under the noses of West Coast and Fremantle with pick 24 in last year's draft.
Geelong has made it clear it wants to sign Kelly to a new deal, but the 24-year-old is in no rush to start negotiations as he waits to see how his family - partner Caitlin, son Tykeem (two) and newborn twin boys Tariq and Trey - adjust to life in Geelong. He is contracted until the end of 2019.
"He's only been here five minutes, but the issue is he's playing such good footy there's an expectation, and understandably so, that we'll re-contract him which we will," Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said.
"There's no doubt that clubs over there (WA) and probably clubs everywhere are having a look at him. But we're not concerned at this stage about any movement for Kelly elsewhere apart from staying here.
"I think he's contributing as much as 4 (Gary Ablett), 14 (Joel Selwood) and 35 (Patrick Dangerfield) at the moment and who would have ever thought that?
"It's an issue that we need to be wary of, but he's going to be a long-term Geelong Cats player."
Overlooked in five drafts, Kelly finally caught the attention of recruiters in a 2017 WAFL season that saw him finish runner-up in the Sandover Medal for South Fremantle. West Coast had planned to use pick 26 on him, while Fremantle and Carlton were also interested.
The Cats' welfare department has rallied around the young family as it looks to make the transition as smooth as possible, while Kelly's parents are currently in town.
Kelly's manager Anthony Van Der Wielen said his client was happy, but yet to make a decision.
"He's very, very happy where he's at. Geelong have been fantastic to him and he's settled in really well and obviously playing good footy," Van Der Wielen said.
"He's got a very young family who have had to make a huge move from Perth.
"It will all come down to the family and can everybody stay in Geelong? Caitlin's mum and dad have flown across a couple of times already, but they can't do that all the time.
"We'll just have to wait and see."
Van Der Wielen will fly to Melbourne in June for talks with his client and Cats officials to get a clearer understanding.
"Geelong would love him to stay long-term. I haven't got a figure put to me or a term ... but they've made it known he's wanted," he said.
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