Kelly spurred on by speculation
Josh Kelly has revealed he used the speculation about his contract status with Greater Western Sydney to drive him on last season.
The midfielder ended up having a breakout campaign, in which he played every game for the Giants.
Kelly found himself under the spotlight when he went into the year with one season left on his GWS deal but the Victorian responded well as he averaged 29.5 possessions, 6.5 tackles and 4.9 clearances per game.
I love playing my footy up here, we're in the middle of some exciting times.Josh Kelly
His form remained solid even after it was revealed in mid-season that North Melbourne - the club where his father Phil played in the 1980s - had offered him a $9 million contract.
Kelly says when the Kangaroos' bid to lure him to Arden Street became public, it only strengthened his resolve to keep up his consistency.
"I placed higher expectations on myself and I wanted to live up to those expectations that people were discussing externally," he added. "I think the whole situation helped me, it forced me to grow up a little quicker on the field and it made me want to be a better player quicker.
"It made me realise I wanted to be the best player I could be now, instead of slowly taking steps forward. I wanted to make an impact and become a regular in the Giants team right now; I embraced it and kind of ran with it."
The 22-year-old ended the campaign with a clutch of honours including being named in the All-Australian team and winning the Giants best and fairest award.
He re-signed with Leon Cameron's club on the eve of the finals on a two-year contract, and said he was very proud of the way he'd played throughout the season and pleased he'd decided to stay.
"I love playing my footy up here, we're in the middle of some exciting times, and hopefully there's some success coming up for us," added Kelly.
Greater Western Sydney are 9/2 to win the 2018 Grand Final.
The Giants are 17/20 to finish in the top four.
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