Tim Kelly’s West Coast Legacy

When the West Coast Eagles pulled the trigger and traded for Tim Kelly, big things were expected of the man who spent two seasons establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in the game at Geelong.

With a proven ability to find the footy on the inside and outside, Kelly pushed Patrick Dangerfield in the 2019 Best and Fairest Award, narrowly losing to the Brownlow Medallist after a stellar season. It was to be his last at the Cattery, with his family indicating they would prefer being back at home in WA to receive the support they required.

Much has been made of the what West Coast gave up for Kelly – usually as people denigrate the trade. Those people would have you believe the Eagles gave up a King’s ransom to get him, but drilling down in the picks used indicates that West Coast gave up depth and little else. Still, many believed that the Eagles gave up too much to acquire him. Others, still, loved what he brought to the team.

Sadly, the 2020 Covid-season seemed to burst the West Coast bubble, and their efforts to load up for one more tilt at the flag were stymied by hubs, an interrupted season, slippeey Gold Coast conditions, and lockdowns that forced players away from their wives, partners, and friends.

Kelly was brought in to be the icing on a very tasty cake the Eagles had been cooking. It was a “win-now” move. With a midfield boasting the likes of Elliot Yeo, Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed, and Jack Redden, Kelly was viewed as the missing piece to the premiership puzzle.

That was the plan.

And while men, and football teams make plans, the Footy Gods laugh.


Oh, what the hell? A Mongrel paywall? Yep, I believe my work is worth twenty cents per day. If you don’t, that’s fine. Want to join us and access the members’ game reviews, as well as columns like the Wingman of the Year, Recruit of the Year, and other nonsensical stuff HB comes up with each week?