Josh Kelly’s dad played finals, but it’s his mum whose handing out the advice heading into the GWS Giants midfielder’s first AFL finals assignment.
Kelly Jr has enjoyed a breakout year in his third season with GWS, playing every game and averaging a career-best 23 touches per match.
He has benefited from adding weight and from sage advice from Giants coaches and former champions Luke Power and Lenny Hayes.
Josh’s father Phil was a wingman who played 61 games for North Melbourne between 1981 and 1985, after winning WAFL Sandover Medals in 1978 and 79 with East Perth.
If the Giants lose their qualifying final, but go all the way to the Grand final and Josh plays all four games, he will take his career tally to 62, one more than Phil accumulated over five seasons
Phil played three VFL finals for the Kangaroos for a win and two losses.
Josh gets his first crack at the finals next Saturday when the Giants play cross-town rivals Sydney in a qualifying final at ANZ Stadium.
Asked if Phil had offered any advice Josh said “not so far, he’s just excited for me.
“Speaking to mum she was telling me some people never get to play AFL finals so (to) really soak it up and I have and I will do so.
“She’s got a few wise words my mum, so I take it in.”
The Giants notched a club record 16 wins this season, just one behind minor premiers Sydney.
The Harbour City clubs split their two games this year, each winning at home.
Sydney’s 42-point loss at Spotless Stadium was their biggest of the season.
Nonetheless they will be regarded as favourites to win the first all-Sydney AFL finals derby.
Being the outsider suits the Giants.
“We try and view ourselves as the underdog every game, we want to go hunting after teams,” Kelly said.
“Obviously you don’t finish minor premiers without being a great team, so we’ll be having a red-hot crack at them and I’m sure they will be preparing for that.”