Infotainment Factory: Why Kelly's commitment means more than money

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Why Kelly's commitment means more than money


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The GWS Giants are perhaps the best example that success in the AFL can come and go in a heartbeat.

That's how it can often work in the AFL. A look through the history of the league shows teams who should have won multiple premierships often come away with just one or none at all.

Despite having arguably the league's most dominant team of the modern era, the 2000 Essendon side, only won one flag. The great St Kilda teams of the late 2000s fell short. Richmond for all their dominance, might have just one flag to show for three dominant seasons at the end of this year.

It is hard to believe that it was three seasons ago that the Giants, previously among the league's easybeats, made it all click in a frighteningly good 2016 season.

Josh Kelly

However, since that charmed finals run where they allowed fans to dare to dream of a flag, it has been mostly all downhill.

The Giants were able to reach the preliminary finals again the following season, but the team did so while slowly losing talent to its rivals.

From that side that took on the Bulldogs in 2016, the Giants have already lost Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Rory Lobb to rival clubs.

Adding Kelly's name to that list would have been a disaster for the club, particularly after Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams wound up as Magpies.

Western Bulldogs

The slow drain of talent from the side came as a result of players not willing to pledge their futures to a club, not knowing if fellow star teammates would be there, as well as a salary cap squeeze.

But losing the likes of Smith due to the salary cap was so you could compete with the lucrative offers headed towards Kelly.

Now, having retained its crown jewel, the continued re-commitment of Josh Kelly could prove to be the reason the Giants stay alive.

As talented and as well-run as they are, given the market the Giants are in, they can ill-afford to put out a product with little to no star power.

Adam Treloar

The loss of Kelly to a big-money Victorian suitor may have led the AFL's newest club down a frightening slippery slope, facing a future similar to the league's other expansion club in Gold Coast.

Now, with Kelly having re-signed for yet another two-seasons, and reportedly having the option to extend his contract into a Lance Franklin-like decade-long deal, the Giants can sell that future to its other off-contract star Stephen Coniglio.

Fighting off North Melbourne, who with all due respect, haven't realistically threatened to win a flag for almost two decades is one thing. Fighting off Alastair Clarkson and the juggernaut that is the Hawthorn Football Club is another.

That is precisely who the Giants are up against as they attempt to convince Coniglio to stick with the side.

Since being drafted with the 2nd overall pick in 2011, Coniglio has been the quiet achiever at the Giants. If Kelly is the lead singer of the band, Coniglio is the bass guitarist.

Stephen Coniglio

However, despite being maybe the league's best kept secret in the first five years of his career, Coniglio is now firmly on the radar of Victorian vultures, and is likely to receive offers that mirror the rumoured $900,000 to $1 million that Kelly has agreed to.

If the speculation surrounding his future has bothered him, Coniglio hasn't shown it in an outstanding start to the season, averaging a career-best 29.7 disposals per game.

Despite the mass exodus of talent from the squad that made the Giants' inaugural foray into the finals, the Giants still possess a roster laden with potential stars.

Former No.1 pick Lachie Whitfield has come into his own, with an All-Australian selection in 2018 to back it up. Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto have developed into two bulls in the Giants' engine room. Full forward Jeremy Cameron is still one of the league's best young forwards.

Tim Taranto

Like Kelly, Hopper, Taranto and Whitfield are all Victorian natives and will almost certainly start turning heads as they advance through their careers.

However, Kelly pledging his future to the club is a strong indication that the Giants have stable environment that players will want to remain at.

After all, if maybe the best player in the country is willing to trust the club with the remainder of his career, why wouldn't you?

Ultimately, time will tell whether Kelly remains a Giant for life, and whether GWS is able to fight off Hawthorn for Coniglio's services.

Josh Kelly Stephen Coniglio

But if Hawthorn's pitch to the 25-year-old is the chance to play alongside Jaeger O'Meara, Tom Mitchell and Tom Scully, the Giants have a heck of an ace to play with Kelly locked up.

Kelly's signature is so much more than simply the duration of his career for the Giants, it is about building something long lasting.

It is a hope that maybe one day, a young kid who has grown up watching Kelly run around in the orange jersey decides he wants to move to the Giants.

That in itself makes the million dollars a year paid to Kelly worth every single penny.

The GWS Giants are perhaps the best example that success in the AFL can come and go in a heartbeat.

That's how it can often work in the AFL. A look through the history of the league shows teams who should have won multiple premierships often come away with just one or none at all.

Despite having arguably the league's most dominant team of the modern era, the 2000 Essendon side, only won one flag. The great St Kilda teams of the late 2000s fell short. Richmond for all their dominance, might have just one flag to show for three dominant seasons at the end of this year.

It is hard to believe that it was three seasons ago that the Giants, previously among the league's easybeats, made it all click in a frighteningly good 2016 season.

Josh Kelly

However, since that charmed finals run where they allowed fans to dare to dream of a flag, it has been mostly all downhill.

The Giants were able to reach the preliminary finals again the following season, but the team did so while slowly losing talent to its rivals.

From that side that took on the Bulldogs in 2016, the Giants have already lost Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Rory Lobb to rival clubs.

Adding Kelly's name to that list would have been a disaster for the club, particularly after Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams wound up as Magpies.

Western Bulldogs

The slow drain of talent from the side came as a result of players not willing to pledge their futures to a club, not knowing if fellow star teammates would be there, as well as a salary cap squeeze.

But losing the likes of Smith due to the salary cap was so you could compete with the lucrative offers headed towards Kelly.

Now, having retained its crown jewel, the continued re-commitment of Josh Kelly could prove to be the reason the Giants stay alive.

As talented and as well-run as they are, given the market the Giants are in, they can ill-afford to put out a product with little to no star power.

Adam Treloar

The loss of Kelly to a big-money Victorian suitor may have led the AFL's newest club down a frightening slippery slope, facing a future similar to the league's other expansion club in Gold Coast.

Now, with Kelly having re-signed for yet another two-seasons, and reportedly having the option to extend his contract into a Lance Franklin-like decade-long deal, the Giants can sell that future to its other off-contract star Stephen Coniglio.

Fighting off North Melbourne, who with all due respect, haven't realistically threatened to win a flag for almost two decades is one thing. Fighting off Alastair Clarkson and the juggernaut that is the Hawthorn Football Club is another.

That is precisely who the Giants are up against as they attempt to convince Coniglio to stick with the side.

Since being drafted with the 2nd overall pick in 2011, Coniglio has been the quiet achiever at the Giants. If Kelly is the lead singer of the band, Coniglio is the bass guitarist.

Stephen Coniglio

However, despite being maybe the league's best kept secret in the first five years of his career, Coniglio is now firmly on the radar of Victorian vultures, and is likely to receive offers that mirror the rumoured $900,000 to $1 million that Kelly has agreed to.

If the speculation surrounding his future has bothered him, Coniglio hasn't shown it in an outstanding start to the season, averaging a career-best 29.7 disposals per game.

Despite the mass exodus of talent from the squad that made the Giants' inaugural foray into the finals, the Giants still possess a roster laden with potential stars.

Former No.1 pick Lachie Whitfield has come into his own, with an All-Australian selection in 2018 to back it up. Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto have developed into two bulls in the Giants' engine room. Full forward Jeremy Cameron is still one of the league's best young forwards.

Tim Taranto

Like Kelly, Hopper, Taranto and Whitfield are all Victorian natives and will almost certainly start turning heads as they advance through their careers.

However, Kelly pledging his future to the club is a strong indication that the Giants have stable environment that players will want to remain at.

After all, if maybe the best player in the country is willing to trust the club with the remainder of his career, why wouldn't you?

Ultimately, time will tell whether Kelly remains a Giant for life, and whether GWS is able to fight off Hawthorn for Coniglio's services.

Josh Kelly Stephen Coniglio

But if Hawthorn's pitch to the 25-year-old is the chance to play alongside Jaeger O'Meara, Tom Mitchell and Tom Scully, the Giants have a heck of an ace to play with Kelly locked up.

Kelly's signature is so much more than simply the duration of his career for the Giants, it is about building something long lasting.

It is a hope that maybe one day, a young kid who has grown up watching Kelly run around in the orange jersey decides he wants to move to the Giants.

That in itself makes the million dollars a year paid to Kelly worth every single penny.

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