Kelly was recruited during the 2013 NAB AFL Rookie Draft and has since emerged as one of Adelaide’s most valuable defenders. Kelly is a medium defender who has the ability to play as a key match-up as well as a rebound player. With an elite aerobic capacity, Jake has the ability to outwork his opponents around the ground.
Jake made an immediate impact at the Adelaide Crows as he was awarded equal runner-up in the inaugural SANFL best and fairest in his first year. Jake made his senior debut for the Crows in round 3, 2015 against Melbourne where he displayed his impressive defensive capabilities, laying 10 tackles. Kelly finished the 2015 season with ten senior appearances. To his disappointment, Jake played the entirety of the 2016 season in the SANFL, as he was unable to reaffirm his place back in the senior side.
However, 2017 was a standout year for Kelly. Jake managed to play 24 games for the Crows, which included the AFL Grand Final. Having initially been recruited as a rookie in 2013 to recently playing in an AFL Grand Final is a testament to Jake’s character and highlights his resilient and determined personality. Jake has now established himself as a key part of the Crow’s backline, averaging 14.8 disposals and 2.8 tackles in the 2017 season.
Season 2018 saw Kelly add flexibility to his game as he moved higher up the ground playing half back and wing to expose his running capabilities. His versatility throughout 2018, and a strong pre-season holds Kelly in good stead for the 2019 season.