James Kelly warms up as favorite for Rising Star award

Geelong Rookie James Kelly continues to star for Geelong, gathering some 23 possessions, 3 marks and 3 tackles after starting the match on the ball. Kelly is shaping up as the best of the lot out of the 2002 litter of Kittens down at Geelong. While his higher profile teamates James Bartel and Gary Ablett grabbed most of the headlines in the first half of the season, since re-entering the team in round 9 for the ill-fated clash against the Western Bulldogs at Skilled Stadium, Kelly has stood out as the class player of the lot.

Geelong went on to lose that game to the Bulldogs after leading by 40 points in the second quarter, but since then Kelly has not played in a losing side. Kelly's pivotal game against the Swans in Sydney, where Geelong came from behind to record a 2 point victory, earned him the Round 12 AFL rising star nomination.

Along with St Kilda's Nick Riewoldt and West Coast Eagle Chris Judd, Kelly is the leading contender for the AFL Rising Star award. These next six rounds will ultimately determine who wins the award, but it is clear that Kelly has played a big part in Geelong's resurgence, in winning the past 7 games in a row.