Extra weight and tips from two of the best midfielders of recent times are turning GWS Giants youngster Josh Kelly into a midfield force in the AFL.
Just short of the halfway stage of the campaign, 21-year-old Kelly is on track to record career-best season tallies in the most significant categories for a midfielder.
He has been in red-hot form of late, racking up at least 26 touches in five of his last six games.
Kelly hasn’t notched less than 17 possessions in a game all year, and his season average of 23 disposals is six higher than he achieved in the 2014 and 2015 campaigns.
Tutored by former midfield stars and Giants assistant coaches Luke Power and Lenny Hayes, Kelly put on three kilos in the off-season to move up to 82 kgs in a bid to earn more time as an inside midfielder.
“I’ve been a pretty light frame over the last couple of years and I think when I came to the club I was about 73, so it’s been a fair change,” Kelly said.
“Over the pre-season I’ve just tried to put a bit of weight on because my goal is to eventually be an inside and outside midfielder, so I’ve been working on my contested ball, a few things around stoppages.
“I’ve been doing that with Lenny Hayes and Luke Power, just a few of the tricks they used to use when they were playing.”
Kelly, the No.2 pick in the 2013 draft, said as a junior he always prided himself in being able to play both inside and outside roles.
“But coming into AFL there’s a lot bigger bodies and a lot more physicality, it’s something I’ve had to adjust to and I feel like I’m slowly getting used to it,” he said.
“The last few games have been a lot better.
“The big goal for me was while putting on weight is maintaining my running ability because that’s always been a big strength of mine.”