Round 8 – North Melbourne vs Geelong: Why Tim Kelly has our Cat hearts

I promised myself I wouldn’t get attached to Tim Kelly, knowing that his heart is set on moving back to Perth as soon as this season ends.


But after today’s performance, my heart overrules my head.

He dug deep, Kelly. Collecting the ball in every contest he was in, creating magic out of nothing.


He seemed to be everywhere…


Dad and I enter the sterile environment of Marvel Stadium for Cats’ first visit of 2019.


It’s warm, so we don’t need jackets, but for some reason, I long to be in the Sunday cold.


We are surrounded by many Geelong people- our people and we feel better under the closed roof of the afternoon.


Dad is in tears as we see our boys run through the banner. I’m not quite sure why, but I get it somehow.


His heart belongs to this club and it’s all he’s ever known. I want them to win today and every week, for people like my Dad.


We kick three straight in the first. But we play in bursts. Maybe we are trying new tactics out?


It won’t faze me if we’re doing something different, or playing Jordan Clark across half forward or on a wing, as long as we can win comfortably.


We put the foot on the break after a five goal second quarter. Some players look sore and I get it- it’s Round 8 and some bodies have had no rest.


The Roos give it their all and cannot catch us, even when we lose our footing and our structure gets lost in the momentum of their brief moment.

Gary Ablett is miraculous, which doesn’t surprise we Cats.


The cheers, again, so loud, so empowering, so Geelong.


It always stops me in my tracks when I hear the roar of absolute admiration for our Little Master.


I think back to this week, when all the news was about Ablett and then I remember the one good thing I read that made it all make sense.


I read an interview with Cats’ newbie Luke Dahlhaus earlier this week that talked about hard efforts from teammates and how they choose to be recognised.


He mentioned something about a whiteboard and writing up players who put in that extra one percent during the game.


He mentioned Ablett and his miracles and how they inspire the team to stand taller, stronger and work harder.


Dahlhaus is right. And I can see Ablett’s name written all over that board in today’s scrappy win.


Stood up when we needed him most, doing what he does best- putting on a show.

I can imagine Tim Kelly’s name will be celebrated too. His efforts, with 36 touches, 21 of those contested, are not to be ignored.


It’s hard for me and my heart, though, I explain to Dad.


It’s hard not to love Tim Kelly.


“How can you not get attached?” Dad asks.


Fair question, Dad.


I’ll always respect a player who works hard, puts their head over the ball and grinds until they get their team a goal and a win. Not to mention the pure talent that Kelly upholds, that blows us all away.


We take the points and move on to our next round.


Tim Kelly might move on too, not only to next week, but to next year.


But for now, he seems content with where he’s at within this Cats team.


And somewhere, deep down in my ever-hesitant football-loving heart, I am content for right now, too.


NORTH MELBOURNE     1.5     4.8     9.8     11.14 (80)
GEELONG    3.0     8.3     14.6     16.7 (103)


North Melbourne: 
Brown 5, Larkey, Zurhaar, Polec, Wood, Thomas, Higgins
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Ablett 4, Kelly 2, Clark 2, Rohan, Miers, Dahlhaus, Dangerfield


North Melbourne: 
Cunnington, Higgins, Brown, Atley, Macmillan, Goldstein
Geelong: Kelly, Ablett, Duncan, Guthrie, Hawkins, Stewart, Taylor



North Melbourne: Nil
Rohan (concussion), Stewart (neck), Atkins (hamstring)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Brown, Whetton, Ryan


Official crowd: 21,156 at Marvel Stadium



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About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Sean Mortell says

    Too true – even as a Collingwood supporter I think Tim Kelly is an amazing player!

  2. Roger Lowrey says

    I endorse that in trumps Anna. At one stage I thought Tim had a twin out there as he just seemed to be everywhere. A bit like Buddha Hocking in his prime who, on many occasions, also seemed to be in all places simultaneously.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Gday Anna, well written. I didn’t go the game on Sunday – I chose to watch my nephew play U16s at Parkside instead. I listened from late in the 3rd, when North got back to within 10 points. It was all pretty predictable: we get into a winning position only to make errors at crucial times. The Cats were better when they needed to be, which is the sign of a good team. All the best for the rest of the year.

  4. It is unfathomable that Tim Kelly was overlooked in the AFL draft so many times!

  5. roger lowrey says

    Agree Smokie. Thankfully Steven Wells looks beyond time trials, skin tests, aerobic measurements etc. It seems he just liked the way Kelly got the ball. Like we do now!

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