AAP AFL

Cats ponder AFL options after losing Kelly

By AAP Newswire

Hailed as a recruiting "genius", Geelong list manager Stephen Wells faces some big decisions after the club snared a bounty of AFL draft picks in exchange for Tim Kelly.

The Cats hold five selections inside the top 40 - their best hand in decades - after forcing West Coast to pay a hefty price for the star midfielder.

In exchange for Kelly, the Eagles gave up picks 14, 24 and 37 in this year's draft, as well as their 2020 first-round selection.

Geelong can take solace from having extracted maximum value in reluctantly acquiescing to Kelly's long-anticipated trade request.

The next step is deciding how best to use their spoils.

Not since 2001, when they picked up the likes of Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and Steve Johnson, have the Cats been so well-placed in the draft.

But unlike that year's "super-draft", this year's pool is considered relatively shallow.

St Kilda midfielder Jack Steven is keen to join the Cats but the clubs have so far been unable to agree upon a suitable deal.

Another option would be to package selections together in the hopes of trading up in the draft order.

"We will work through all of that," Wells said.

"We are as happy as we can be under the circumstances.

"We are losing an outstanding player but receiving these draft picks does give us an opportunity to look at our list in a different way over the next couple of years."

Having won the flag in 2018, the addition of homegrown star Kelly on a lucrative six-year deal means West Coast's premiership window remains firmly open.

But they could have snared the mature-aged sensation much earlier if not for some savvy recruiting by the Cats.

Back in 2017, West Coast used their top two draft picks on tall forwards Jarrod Brander and Oscar Allen and had intended to take Kelly with their next selection before Geelong swooped on the South Fremantle product.

"Wellsy's a genius," Eagles football manager Craig Vozzo said.

"He's an absolute gun recruiter and he got in just before we did.

"Good luck to them - they've done very well."