By Justin Flynn
Geelong has failed to achieve a trade of Tim Kelly to West Coast before the AFL’s trade deadline.
Kelly had requested the move but Geelong played hard ball until the end of trading on Wednesday night.
Kelly’s was the only major deal left uncompleted.
The first-year midfielder finished equal runner-up in the Cats’ best and fairest after Geelong drafted him at number 24 as a mature-aged recruit.
Kelly’s homesick partner and three young children were behind his bid for a Perth homecoming.
Geelong demanded two first-round draft picks from the Eagles but the reigning premier was unable to comply.
Geelong delcined the Eagles offer of picks 20 and 22, producing the trade stalemate.
Geelong list manager Stephen Wells said West Coast was professional but the potential deal was a “long shot” all along.
Wells said the Cats had engaged with Fremantle for a potential Kelly swap but his manager, Anthony van der Wielen, maintained that the Eagles were the Cats’ desired destination.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come to an agreement with the Cats. It wasn’t through lack of trying,” said West Coast list manager Brady Rawlings.
“We went really hard from day one. Unfortunately, the Cats rate us just as highly as we do and didn’t want to give him up.”
Kelly will now have to honour the second and final year of his contract at GMHBA Stadium before again seeking a trade to the west next year.
Meanwhile, Geelong traded George Horlin-Smith and Jackson Thurlow during the latter stages of the trade period.
The Cats received pick 59 from Gold Coast for the 25-year-old Horlin-Smith, while Thurlow was traded to Sydney for pick 70.
Horlin-Smith was originally drafted with pick 37 in 2010 but struggled to cement a regular spot in the Cats’ side, playing 51 games in seven seasons.
Thurlow was drafted at 16 in the 2012 draft, managing 38 games at Geelong.