Round 3 – North Melbourne v GWS: The Josh Kelly Cup


Although we are about to dive into round three of the 2017 season, it hasn’t quite hit me yet that footy is back.


That’s most likely because North have only played one game of footy – last week against Geelong. We all know round one is a practice, right? At least that’s what I was told 12 months ago when North defeated Adelaide… apparently a win that good doesn’t count because it’s ‘only round one’, so I’ll pretend the same rule still applies.


A week in football is an insanely long time – particularly on the field.


Despite the decent first half effort against the Eagles, North looked sluggish and unmotivated after the main break. It was a different story against Geelong, though, as they only fell in the final 90 seconds. But majority of the game was mouthwatering, and we are all waiting to indulge in more of the same.


While there has been so much buzz surrounding North Melbourne on the field, it seems to have followed them off it as well.


Over the past fortnight, they have been linked with GWS young gun Josh Kelly and rumours have been circled that North have offered the 22-year-old a Buddy Franklin like deal.


The media have going into overdrive this week, with every expert queueing up to weigh in on Kelly’s future.


The story that caught my attention was in Wednesday’s Herald Sun (online on Tuesday night) by journalist Jon Ralph. To cut to the chase, he said Kelly needs to choose between a premiership with the Giants or the large pay check with the Roos.


So going off what he’s said, what’s the best way to bring Josh Kelly to Arden Street? Beat the Giants. Easier said than done, of course, however that would counteract the argument brought forward by Ralph.


He’s essentially implied that North won’t win a premiership in the next 10-12 years (or however long Kelly would play at North, should he move across) or simply that the Giants will get there sooner.


So you see, defeating the Giants could put things into perspective for the youngster. Not only would the Roos notch up their first win of the season but they have the chance to show Kelly what they’ve got. We need to make his move more about the potential and success of the future, which is looking quite exciting. Also, let’s make a note that father Phil played 61 games in the blue and white stripes.


In case that wasn’t enough, the trade news kept coming. We soon found out that we could have our cake, and eat it too. If Josh Kelly was to come to North Melbourne, it wouldn’t stop us from having a crack at Dustin Martin as well.


For the first time in the club’s history, we are seriously cashed up and cannot wait to tell the whole AFL world about it.


The money is there so now the club need to work on winning games, showing off their potential and making North Melbourne a destination club – something they have struggled with in the past.


Too many times, North have been linked to big name players looking for new homes and have failed to bring them in. In recent years, the Roos have shown interest in players such as James Aish, Adam Treloar and Josh Caddy, just to name a few, but lost out against bigger ($$$$) clubs.


Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all misses; securing the services of Shaun Higgins, Nick Dal Santo and Jarrad Waite certainly added class and quality to the playing side, however plenty have still criticised the club for not going hard enough at the trade.


Is Kelly worth the money?? The dukes are still out on that one, however North are already victorious from the news alone, because they’re marketing themselves as an imposing figure in the football world and it’s about damn time. Too often the club is trampled on, and not taken seriously both on and off the field. 2017 is North’s chance, and while we’re only in April they’re already making the most of their opportunity.


It is a long season and so much more will develop with time. I guess the best thing to do for now is go out there, win some games and watch the rest of the season unfold in front of our eyes.


  1. Pretty sure we were cashed up around 1973 and spent well. North need history to repeat by bringing in quality players, not just Kelly.

  2. kath presdee says

    Let’s set aside I have a vested interest in Josh Kelly knocking this offer back, but a number of GWS supporters are scratching their heads at this offer. I mean the kid is good, but he’s not *that* good.

    Rumour has it that Kelly was about to re-sign (certainly the signs were good) and then the offer was made. It’s an offer than only an idiot wouldn’t stop and think about and there is no hope in Hades that we would want GWS to match (even if we could). Also, to be fair, if Josh does take the money and runs, then we’d rather he went to North which has a family tie, rather than some other club like Collingwood (yes, we’re looking at you Adam).

    That said, even when we were the cashed up club, waving ridiculous amounts of our start-up money at players to build not only a footy team but a club in an AFL outpost, we didn’t sign anyone to more than a five year deal. Even the most outrageous offer made to an existing player (Tom Scully) was for five years only. Not only has Scully grown into his own role as the club has grown up around him, but he’s extended his contract and re-negotiated the final year to allow the Club more $$ to spend on his teammates.

    But nine years? Yes, we’ve got Cameron for that long, but he’s a forward who kicks goals and was an All-Australian in his second year of AFL footy. But a midfielder? Will the club have the patience if he’s out of form? Will his teammates if he isn’t pulling his weight, particularly if he is taking up chunks of the salary cap that young stars will believe they’re entitled to? Will he have patience if there’s instability in coaching? Will he want to shoulder the responsibility if he isn’t supported by the Football Department? You can’t hide from the Herald Sun in Melbourne; you can in Sydney.

    It’s a good start in rebuilding a team, but Josh is your future. Who is the short term boost? If you’re offering 9/9 to Josh Kelly, what exactly are you offering Dusty Martin or Nat Fyfe?

    Anyway, an emphatic performance by Josh didn’t diminish his worth in the eyes of GWS and North supporters. He’s a talented young man and I hope he makes the decision that’s best for him.

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