Why Kelly knocked back Vic clubs
GWS star Josh Kelly admits he was seriously tempted by big-money offers from Victorian clubs, but hopes his decision to stay with the Giants will influence fellow vice-captain Stephen Coniglio to also put pen to paper.
Kelly has signed a two-year contract, but with options in his favour to extend the deal anywhere up to a landmark 10-year, career-long commitment.
Kelly has sacrificed big money to remain in GWS colours, knocking back landmark offers from desperate Victorian clubs Carlton, St Kilda and North Melbourne.
While he stopped short of declaring himself a Giant for life, the 24-year-old star said he spurned those overtures for a chance to be part of a unique slice of history: a maiden AFL premiership for Sydney's west.
"I can definitely see my future up at the Giants," Kelly said.
"Being responsible for hopefully some success going forward is something I can really be excited by and take a lot of pride in.
"There's definitely an opportunity for it (to be a lifetime deal).
"I'm not going to lie. It was a tough decision. The opportunity to move back and be close to family and play in Victoria is always there.
"But I love the club here and I feel like I've got something really special and the opportunity to push for finals and a flag right now is just super exciting."
The AFL doesn't recognise options officially, but the mechanisms put in place by GWS and Kelly's management should make it a simple process when the time comes for him to trigger clauses to extend - even if he wasn't prepared to talk about its details.
"(Contract clauses for a six-10 year deal) is probably not something I want to go into too much," he said.
"That's all been good for my manager and the club to have a look into all those things, but at this stage it's a two year deal and I'm super excited for what is to happen over the next couple of years and my future going forward after that.
"It's a great initiative by my manager and the club to have a look at those things. Right now that's probably not the focus for me. I'm fully invested and really excited by the next couple of years at this stage."
Kelly becomes a free agent in three years' time, but said he hadn't thought about whether that would change his outlook.
"I haven't thought that far ahead to be honest," he said.
Kelly said he hasn't spoken extensively to fellow off-contract star Coniglio through the process, but is confident the Giants will have another big-name signing in the months to come.
"It hasn't really been a topic for us. Having dealt from experience it's not something you need heaps of people coming up and chatting to you about," said Kelly.
"You make the decisions in your mind as you go and for him I won't be jumping on his back and forcing him to make a decision there or anything.
"I hope me signing on can have an impact on that but he's playing some pretty good footy and he's taking care of business at the moment. I can't see too many thing changing with Cogsy.
Kelly is convinced the Giants are building to something special.
"We're just in an exciting period for the club. I think we've been building, the club has been building from the day it started and right now it's just exciting," he said.
"We're in a position where we've got a great playing group, great coaching staff, the whole club is a really good place to be. I'm excited about what's ahead.
"As soon as this year, (we will be) pushing for finals and hopefully the ultimate goal of a premiership and looking forward to doing that down the track as well."
Kelly has been tipped by many to become the Giants' first-ever Brownlow Medallist ever since he was picked up as a No. 2 draft pick in the 2013 draft.
At 24 years of age and with a body that's largely kept clear of serious injury, Kelly had long been seen as one of the most prized free agents in recent AFL history.
Provided Kelly's enjoyment of life away from family in Sydney's west remains where it is, it's understood he has the option to extend to as long as 10 years at the Giants - shades of Lance Franklin's game-changing commitment to the Harbour City.
No player in the AFL is currently contracted to 2025 aside from Richmond's Tom Lynch, but there are various options Kelly can choose to trigger in his new deal at GWS.
It's understood Giants management and Kelly's management covered several bases over his long-term future in lengthy discussions behind the scenes.
GWS believe Kelly's commitment is an iron-clad endorsement of the culture and bond they have built in the west of the town.
If Hawthorn were to pitch to GWS' other off-contract ace Coniglio the chance to play with Jaeger O'Meara, then the Giants have an emphatic counter in the pledge made by Kelly.
In the club's formative years, players would look over their shoulders and feared that they could sign, only to end up on their own, should a mass exodus come.
Giants coach Leon Cameron said he's confident Coniglio will also commit.
"Yeah I am. I don't see any reason why not," he said.
"Progressive talks are going well and I always say there are two parts to a negotiation. There's the club, who want to do it ASAP and there's the player and the manager who will take their time.
"You look for a happy medium in between and we seem to have done that over the last three or four years and I don't see that not happening over the next month or two."