Giants put AFL premierships before cash

Josh Kelly re-signing with Greater Western Sydney has continued what is becoming a habit of Giants stars valuing potential AFL premierships over money.

Kelly knocked back lucrative offers from rival clubs, joining Dylan Shiel, Jonathon Patton, Lachie Whitfield and Jacob Hopper as elite, in-demand talent recommitting to the club in 2017.

Co-captain Callan Ward, Tom Scully and Jeremy Cameron signed long-term deals in previous years.

The 22-year-old midfielder Kelly appears to have put his own value on a flag, reportedly accepting around $300,000 less per year than what was offered by North Melbourne.

“It’s a good story. You’re talking about a guy who has knocked back $10 million-plus to accept a two-year deal,” Kelly’s agent Paul Connors told reporters.

“I think forever Josh Kelly will be regarded as a loyal person who puts potential premierships first.

“He’s got a lovely (Victorian) family who would like to see him home at some stage.

“But he was able to work through that and realise that they’ve got a pretty good group up at GWS … I think he’s pretty happy.”

The Giants’ premiership window is wide open as they prepare to face Richmond at the MCG on Saturday in their second-straight preliminary final appearance.

While Kelly will remain at GWS until at least 2019, there remains a strong chance the All-Australian will court a similar level of interest when he next goes off contract.

His situation is comparable to fellow Victorian Chris Judd, who joined Carlton from West Coast as a Brownlow Medal winner and premiership player, according to former St Kilda chief executive Brian Waldron.

Waldron believes the financial impact of Kelly and his Giants teammates knocking back more money elsewhere is likely to be minimal.

“The likely scenario is Kelly and Hopper and couple of others will probably look to come back in a couple of years,” Waldron told AAP.

“They’re probably similar to Chris Judd – deliver a premiership to West Coast then, ‘OK, I want to move back to family’.

“I don’t think we’ll see a diminishing of the salary cap in future years. I think the money’ll continue to rise.

“So while they might have knocked back the seven-figure sum this year, there’ll possibly be seven figures on the table in two years if they continue to play well.”

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