AAP AFL

Cats coach vows to fight to keep Kelly

By AAP Newswire

If star midfielder Tim Kelly has played his last AFL game for Geelong, he certainly went out with a bang.

Kelly is expected to request a trade to West Coast at the end of the season, which came for the Cats on Friday night when they suffered a 19-point preliminary final loss to Richmond at the MCG.

The 25-year-old made it even harder for Geelong to let him go with a stellar 31-possession, three-goal performance.

Chris Scott knows he can't keep the out-of-contract on-baller from departing, but vowed to do what he could to convince him to stay.

"I don't even know if it's possible but I'm not letting him go," Scott said.

"That's my half-serious response but I've got absolutely no control of what's going to go on.

"All I can say is that he's been a credit to himself all the way through.

"He should be proud of himself and we're really proud of him.

"If the question is 'would you like to keep him?' I'll fight tooth and nail to do that."

Kelly's desire to move his young family back to Perth, with the support network of family and friends available there, was the driving force behind his ill-fated trade request last year and remains the case.

That won't make it any easier for Scott to watch him walk out the door two years after the Cats plucked him out of the WAFL as a 23-year-old in the second round (No.24) of the draft.

"It's been two special seasons from him - he's just an outstanding player," the coach said.

"On the big stage against really good opposition he was fantastic tonight.

"I suspect if we had won the game we would be talking about him in even more glowing terms, but just because we couldn't get the result I don't think that should take the gloss off his performance and the year he's had.

"It's a credit to him and it's a credit to our club that gave him that opportunity."