The winner of the 2019 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Best Young Player is Tim Kelly of the Geelong Football Club.
After playing every game and completing a stellar debut season in 2018, Kelly failed to secure a trade to return home to Western Australia in last year’s trade period, but he took the disappointment in his stride and went back to Geelong and turned in a stunning sophomore season.
Kelly was brilliant through the midfield for the Cats in 2019, averaging a career-high 25.4 disposals and 6.1 clearances per game.
His ability to be clean in traffic, regularly hit the scoreboard and consistently generate first possession from stoppages made him not only one of Geelong’s best players, a Brownlow medal favourite and has seen him finish fourth in the 2019 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award.
Kelly received 139 votes from the AFL coaches during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, finishing a whopping 84 votes ahead of runner up Hawthorn’s James Worpel (55 votes). There was a tie for third with Collingwood's Brody Mihocek and the Western Bulldogs’ Aaron Naughton on 29 votes.
Kelly was honoured to win the 2019 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Best Young Player Award.
"Thank you to the coaches for all the votes, it's an honour and something i'll look back on at the end of my career." Kelly said today upon receiving the Award from coach Chris Scott.
Cats coach Chris Scott congratulated Kelly on his Award.
"This is fantastic validation for Tim's first two seasons in the competition. To be overlooked in five drafts and get the recognition from not only the coaches but from all the competition is a great effort," said Scott.
AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw joined in congratulating Kelly on his first two seasons in the AFL which has seen him crowned the 2019 Shadforth Financial Group AFL Coaches Association Best Young Player.
“Tim has starred in his first two years in the AFL, adding brilliance to the Geelong midfield which has been recognised by the coaches. The coaches don’t give votes away lightly so it's a real credit to Tim and his performances to have been judged by the coaches as the Best Young Player.” said Brayshaw.
The Best Young Player of the Year Award is presented in recognition of the player based on performances in his first two seasons of AFL Football and is determined by the weekly votes of the AFL coaches. Previous winners include Tom Stewart, Clayton Oliver, Scott Pendlebury, Joel Selwood and Brownlow medallists Chris Judd and Nathan Fyfe.
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