GREATER Western Sydney has landed a blow on its Victorian rivals by securing the signature of emerging superstar Josh Kelly for a further two seasons.
It is understood North Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda all offered longer and more lucrative deals to the gifted onballer, but they will be forced to come knocking again when Kelly qualifies for free agency at the end of 2021.
The 2017 club champion and All Australian midfielder said on Wednesday he was happy to see the end of the constant speculation over his playing future.
"I'm not going to lie, it was a tough decision," he said.
"There's always that opportunity to move back to be close to family and play in Victoria, but I love the club and I feel like we've got something really special here.
"The opportunity to push for finals and a flag is super-exciting so I'm looking forward to it."
While the Giants had hoped the 24-year-old would sign a long-term deal, it will allow the club a further two years to convince him to stay for life.
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Kelly said he sees potential there to play out his career as a one-club player.
"I can definitely see my future at the Giants and there's definitely an opportunity for it," he said.
"Being part of building the foundations of this club and responsible for its success it's something I take a lot of pride in."
Opportunities to pull the trigger on having Kelly stay until well into his 30s have already been discussed between the Giants and his management group Connors Sports, but he wasn't keen to talk about the specifics of his latest contract or his future free agency status.
"It's a great initiative by my management and the club to look into that kind of thing, but at this stage it's a two-year deal," he said.
"Right now, that’s not the focus for me I'm fully invested (in the Giants) and really excited about the next couple of years at this stage."
Kelly previously pondered a monster deal from the Roos before extending with GWS for two seasons in September 2017.
The early commitment this time around will allow the Giants to go to work on their next priority signing – free agent Stephen Coniglio.
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The West Australian is being heavily pursued to return home, and there are moves by Victorian clubs such as Hawthorn and Carlton to prise him out of the Harbour City.
Kelly said he hasn't spoken to his fellow vice-captain in detail about either of their situations but hoped the Giants could secure Coniglio's signature in the near future.
"It's hasn't really been a topic (of conversation) for us, from (personal) experience it's not something you need people coming up and chatting to you about," he said.
"You make decisions in your own mind as you go, and I won't be jumping on his back and forcing him to make a decision.
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"I hope me signing on can have an impact but he's playing some really good footy and taking care of business at the moment, and I can't see too many things changing with 'Cogsy' (anytime soon)."
GWS has been patient with its out-of-contract stars in recent years and that strategy has helped them secure its most important players like Kelly (twice), Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield, Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron.
Kelly said his dealings with coach Leon Cameron, football boss Wayne Campbell and chief executive Dave Matthews over the past few months always made him feel like he was an important member of the organisation.
"They've let me go about my business and deal with it the way I've want to deal with it," he said.
"There's conversation (had) here and there to check in and make sure everything is going well, but they've been really supportive."