In-demand Giant stars again in defeat of Bombers
IT'S not often the spotlight of the AFL world turns on to a player from Greater Western Sydney.
But with Josh Kelly being linked to a massive trade period move, with reports of a $9 million, nine-year deal from North Melbourne on the table, suddenly everyone seems to know his name.
You wouldn't be surprised to see a youngster wilt in the face of such attention.
But Kelly hasn't done that; if anything, he is blossoming and playing his way towards an even bigger contract.
The midfielder was uber-impressive in GWS' 18.9.117 to 15.11.101 win over Essendon on Saturday - leading to plenty of questions as to why he wasn't paid more attention by the Bombers.
"Every time I see Kelly I have to turn to the next channel to see an opponent," tweeted former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas.
His impact in the first half was enormous. At the long break Kelly had 22 disposals, going at 95.5 per cent efficiency, which had a major scoreboard impact. He created seven inside 50s, had two goal assists and kicked a major himself.
"I wouldn't mind seeing a hard tag go to him, just to test him out a little bit," analyst David King said on Fox Footy.
"He's running around doing his own thing ... it's frustrating watching him just run around."
That frustration - from an Essendon perspective - was still there after halftime as Kelly's brilliant play continued.
"It's no secret the form he has been in," King said during the third quarter.
"You can't get beaten by what you know ... you know it's going to hurt if he gets 30 plus (disposals) and he's on 30 now."
But the Bombers couldn't stop him and in the end, it was Kelly's best statistical output ever.
He finished with a career-high 38 disposals at a mighty 86.8 per cent efficiency, recording 10 inside 50s (career-high), 10 tackles (his equal-second most ever) and seven clearances (equal third-most ever).
It was the sixth time in his career Kelly went for 30 disposals or more; five of those have come in this season, his most important on a personal level.
During the week Kelly declared he loved GWS, making the noises of someone who is happy to stay in Sydney. But the draw of enormous money is hard to ignore for most players.
"It's not hard up here in Sydney (to ignore the noise)," Kelly said on Fox Footy post-game.
"If you want to listen to all the noise, you go searching for it.
"But I'm keeping my mind clearly off that, I'm well and truly with the Giants at the minute and I'm absolutely loving it."
We shall see. But for now, he may lead the Giants to a flag - which wouldn't be a bad way to leave the club.