WANTAWAY Geelong midfielder Tim Kelly will spend at least a second season at the Cattery after West Coast's down-to-the-wire bid fell short.
Kelly was keen to return to Western Australia with his partner Caitlin and their three young children, but ruled out Fremantle as an option and only wanted to go to the Eagles.
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Negotiations reportedly stalled inside the last five minutes before the NAB AFL Trade deadline, with West Coast's offer of picks 20 and 22 and a future second-round pick not satisfying Geelong.
It is understood the Cats were demanding the two selections in the 20s and a future first-round choice.
The Eagles' list manager Brady Rawlings told AFL.com.au that his club's "best efforts" were not enough to broker a deal, but that they would "no doubt" try again in 12 months' time.
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"We really rate Tim as a player obviously and we'd love him at our club and he expressed a desire to come home, but unfortunately the Cats rated him as highly as we did and wouldn't give him up," Rawlings said.
"It was disappointing for Tim, (because) he really wanted to be back in Perth and be at our footy club, but we weren't able to get it done.
"I won't go into detail on the offer, but it's been reported our picks in this year's draft were on the table and we were willing to go into the future as well, which is not a decision the club takes lightly.
"We'll monitor Tim's situation, clearly with a young family and his desire to be with family in Perth, and if he's feeling the same thing this time next year we'll definitely be here and wanting to talk."
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Kelly pleaded his case to go home to Geelong's recruiting boss Stephen Wells on Wednesday, but will be back in 2019.
The 24-year-old finished equal-second in the Cats' club champion award in an outstanding rookie season after being the No.24 pick in last year's draft.
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"Two weeks ago, we weren't very interested at all in talking about it with the West Coast Eagles, but out of respect for Tim, we thought that we should explore the option," Wells said.
"West Coast were very professional and respectful in their dealings with us. I think we all knew along the line it was a long shot and that was the way it turned out.
"We were still talking at 8.20 tonight, so I think it did get close. We didn't ask for players. We wanted to do it for trade picks.
"Tim's a tremendous professional … from our point of view and the discussions we've had with Tim over the last couple of weeks, there's no doubt he'll front up and play well for us."
Wells and Geelong will attempt to change Kelly's mind about wanting to leave and sign him to a long-term contract.
"He comes out of contract at the end of next year, but we'll be happy to talk to him and his manager about extending his contract if we can," he said.
"But that'll be a little bit in their hands."