James Kelly (Australian footballer)

James Kelly (born 29 December 1983) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club and Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).

James Kelly
Kelly playing in June 2017.
Personal information
Full name James Kelly
Nickname(s) Kell, Pops, The Custodian [1]
Date of birth (1983-12-29) 29 December 1983
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Original team(s) Calder Cannons (TAC Cup)
Rupertswood (RDFL)
Draft No. 17, 2001 national draft
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 85 kg (187 lb)
Position(s) Half Back / Midfielder
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2002–2015 Geelong 273 (88)
2016–2017 Essendon 040 0(2)
Total 313 (90)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2008 Victoria 1 (0)
International team honours
2011 Australia 2 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2017.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2008.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

AFL career

Kelly playing in 2008.

Since 2001, Kelly has played with the Geelong Football Club. Playing as an on-baller in the powerful midfield, he has shown capability in gaining many possessions and running well, as well as showing great courage. Kelly, is a natural born leader who has played a pivotal role in Geelong's dominant era, one of only twelve players to play in all three of Geelong's recent premierships.[2]

He was a member of Geelong's 2006 NAB Cup Premiership team, as well as the drought-breaking 2007 AFL Premiership Team. He was also a member of Geelong's losing side in the 2008 Grand Final and their victorious sides in the 2009 and 2011 Grand Finals. He was delisted at the end of the 2015 AFL season, despite averaging 20.5 disposals in 17 games,[3] he subsequently retired from the AFL before signing with the Essendon Football Club in January 2016 as a top-up player in the wake of the club's supplements scandal.[4] Under the player top-up rules, he was delisted at the conclusion of the 2016 season,[5] however, in November he re-signed with Essendon during the delisted free agency period.[6] On August 16, 2017, Kelly retired from AFL after 313 games with Geelong and Essendon.


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2002 Geelong 915751378522241490.
2003 Geelong 9186812910923843550.
2004 Geelong 913941518423548410.70.311.66.518.13.73.2
2005 Geelong 92413725417843295830.50.310.67.418.04.03.5
2006 Geelong 9157213411925348400.
2007 Geelong 923111020124644785840.50.48.710.719.43.73.7
2008 Geelong 92187196232428951120.40.39.311.
2009 Geelong 9182219521240788550.10.110.811.822.64.93.1
2010 Geelong 92371257301558871400.
2011 Geelong 924512319258577621860.20.513.310.824.02.67.8
2012 Geelong 91925257213470591280.10.313.511.
2013 Geelong 9201012234202436501530.50.611.710.
2014 Geelong 92304312176488113890.
2015 Geelong 9171718516334880710.10.410.99.620.54.74.2
2016 Essendon 472023268238506129860.10.213.411.925.36.54.3
2017 Essendon 472000209196405115740.
Career 313 90 89 3438 3012 6450 1238 1446 0.3 0.3 11.0 9.6 20.6 4.0 4.6

Personal life

In 2008, Kelly was an ambassador for an anti-alcohol-fuelled violence campaign run by the Geelong Advertiser titled "Just Think".[8] In this role, Kelly appeared in advertising alongside fellow ambassadors, and Geelong teammates, Tom Harley and David Wojcinski.[8]






  1. Kelly, James (28 April 2009). "Ask James Kelly". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  2. Sewell, Eliza (17 May 2012). "James Kelly a joker in the pack". Herald Sun.
  3. Adam Baldwin (3 September 2015). "Will Geelong trio Steve Johnson, James Kelly, Mathew Stokes get lifeline from rival clubs?". Fox Sports.
  4. Ryan, Peter (20 January 2016). "Triple flag winner Kelly joins Essendon". Australian Football League. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  5. Twomey, Liam; Salemme, Kate (5 October 2016). "James Kelly will likely return to Essendon to play a second season with the Bombers". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  6. "Essendon officially signs James Kelly and Matt Dea to new deals". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  7. "James Kelly stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  8. Devic, Aleks (5 December 2008). "Just Think campaign reaches new heights". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
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