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
Geelong: Rohan (concussion), Stewart (neck), Atkins (hamstring)
Umpires: Brown, Whetton, Ryan
Official crowd: 21,156 at Marvel Stadium