GWS superstar Josh Kelly has signed a two-year AFL contract extension, turning his back on a potential return home to Victoria for a second time.
The new deal will tie him to the Giants until at least the end of the 2021 season when he would become eligible for free agency.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a tough decision,” the 24-year-old midfielder told reporters on Tuesday.
“The opportunity to move back to be close to family and, you know, play in Victoria is always there.
“But I love the club here and I feel like we’ve got something really special.
“The opportunity to push for finals and a flag right now is just super exciting.”
It is believed his new contract has options or triggers to increase his stay with GWS beyond 2021.
Kelly said he’d been “sitting on” the announcement for a couple of weeks but declined to reveal the exact details of his contract.
Giants coach Leon Cameron and co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward had in recent months publicly declared their confidence in retaining the silky on- baller despite a bidding frenzy looming.
GWS fended off significant interest from rival clubs – including a nine-year, $10 million offer from North Melbourne – to re-sign Kelly on a two-year deal in 2017.
An All-Australian and club best-and-fairest winner in 2017, the Giants’ vice-captain joins Jacob Hopper, Matt de Boer, Adam Kennedy, Harry Himmelberg and Nick Haynes in signing new deals with the Giants this year.
Re-signing off-contract star and potential restricted free agent Stephen Coniglio will now become GWS’s main focus, while Adam Tomlinson is another key cog yet to commit beyond this season.
Kelly missed the Giants’ first two matches this year after undergoing hip and knee surgery over the off-season.
He returned for their 49-point demolition of Richmond in round four and has averaged 28.5 possessions, six clearances and 5.5 tackles this season.
© AAP 2019