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From the Kelly perspective, it’s a nod to his form. The Cal captain has been playing well, capping off his season with an MVP performance at the CRC. Early in the morning the day after receiving that award, he was hustling out to the airport in Philadelphia with Cam Dolan and Colton Cariaga to join the Eagle camp. And from there he has just gone from strength to strength.
So he’s been playing well, but he has also been playing the right position. Tolkin needs an outside center, and almost all of the backs he has in camp have been playing some other position. Kelly, really, is the only one who has spent the majority of the past several months with a #13 on his back. That matters.
Kelly will bring a lot of passion to his play. He is not tall, but he is physically strong and runs hard. He will give Tolkin some quality minutes, and he might make a few mistakes, too.
So there’s a comfort level there for Tolkin. He knows the effort level and
skill level he will get from Kelly, a payer he coached in high
The choice of Kelly at outside center also says something about the team’s goalkicking options. Kelly is at 13, because Chris Wyles isn’t. Wyles is playing fullback because Adam Siddall isn’t. Why? Siddall would have started chiefly because he can kick goals (he can do other things, but the skill that gets him in a 15 shirt is goalkicking). Wyles has had an excellent week kicking for goal, after performing well in that role last November. So with that, Tolkin is happy to put Wyles at fullback, where he does an excellent job helping organize the backs and communicating with flyhalf Toby L’Estrange (and sometimes stepping in as first receiver), and putting Kelly in at outside.