Love it or hate it, Leon Cameron has left a huge legacy

The first coaching domino of the 2022 season has fallen, with GWS giants coach Leon Cameron announcing his resignation to take effect after the club’s Round 9 home game against Carlton.

The club will finish just seven of their 200th games in charge, when the Giants are scheduled to play at the Adelaide Oval in Port Adelaide after they decided to resign over their poor start. Season.

Cameron’s departure put an end to weeks of speculation surrounding his future, when he initially revealed that his coaching future would not be discussed until the end of the season, after their Round 3 win over the Gold Coast Suns at home.

That, and their great Round 7 win against the Adelaide Crowds at the Adelaide Oval, their only two wins so far this season, their six defeats are currently against eight teams.

Things are not going to be easy for the Giants, who will face eight clubs on both sides of the home clash against the struggling West Coast Eagles in the next three weeks – Carlton and Brisbane Lions.

The game against the Blues, which will be televised on Channel Seven in Sydney and Melbourne this Sunday afternoon, will be Cameron’s swan song, giving the club’s fans a final chance to say goodbye to someone who gave his all for the club for decades.

He first joined the Giants in 2013 as a senior assistant to then-coach Kevin Sheddy, the year the club won just one game of the season against Melbourne at home in Round 19, in his childhood.

After Shady retired from AFL coaching at the end of that season, Cameron took the reins and turned the club into a competitive force for years to come as the club suffered two defeats by more than 100 points in the first half of 2014.

In his first match in charge, the Giants suffered a major setback against the Sydney Swans, who unveiled Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin for the first time with a 32-point win at the Giants Stadium.

Even after the first three quarters, the men west of the city finished at the top of their cross-town rivals, booting just six goals in the final quarter to show the competition that the Giants have finally woken up.

In Cameron’s first season, the club finished with two wins from their last three matches, their first wins at the MCG and Marvel Stadium against Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs on both sides of the eight-point defeat to Collingwood.

Progress on the club’s ladder continued in 2015. After ten rounds, the club have won seven of their first ten matches, including defeating reigning Premier Hawthorne at home and qualifying for the final for the first time.

This was until the day of the genocide against Collingwood in the MCG. In that game, their most important player, Shane Mumford, suffered an ankle injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Eventually, the club climbed the ladder to 11th place after losing eight of their last 12 matches, but there was reason to believe that the AFL’s Western Sydney project, conceived in 2008 by then-AFL CEO Andrew Demetrius, had finally begun to pay dividends.

2016 got off to a bad start for the Giants as they lost two of their first three games and were left without forward Jeremy Cameron due to suspension. But as soon as he returned, the club clicked into gear, climbing the stairs to fourth place with a 16-6 record.

The Giants repeated the dose on a three-time reigning Premier Hawthorne with a devastating 75-point win, forcing the rest of the competition to note that as much as they were worried about a heavy defeat, it was enough, and it was their turn. Do regular damage.

They qualified for the final for the first time, and suffered another major setback when they defeated junior Premier Sydney Swann by six goals to take a week off and a home preliminary final berth.

But it came at a price, with veteran forward Steve Johnson suspended for rude behavior with Josh Kennedy, meaning he will not be able to play again in 2016 unless the Giants qualify for the grand final.

His absence proved costly in the end as the Giants suffered a heartbreaking six-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs in an early final for the age at the Giants Stadium. This result prevented a historic All-Sydney AFL Grand Final.

In 2017, the Giants finished fourth again. That season, Tim Taranto and Harry Periman made their AFL debut, and they fell behind in the preliminary finals again, this time losing to Richmond by six goals in the MCG.

In the 2018 season, before the season changes against the Adelaide Crowds at the Adelaide Oval, the club got off to a bad start with four wins and a draw from their first ten matches. That was the scene of two terrible defeats in the previous season. It proved to be the catalyst for a seventh place finish.

They repeated the dose on the Swans in an eliminated final at the SCG before losing to Collingwood in the semifinals at the MCG next week.

In the 2019 season, Leon Cameron had the crowning moment as he left the critics behind and led an injury-ridden side to the glorious final courtesy of wins against the Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions and Collingwood.

Excitement was building around the Giants’ grand finale appearance, which came in just the eighth season of their existence, with club fans celebrating what their club has achieved in such a short time this week.

But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare as an instrument led by Trent Cochin, Dustin Martin and Jack Reoldt and the Richmond Football Club is said to be on an embarrassingly easy 89-point winning streak that leaves the Giants tired, fragmented and frustrated.

Just one season later, senior assistant coach Matthew Knicks moved to Adelaide Crowe to take on a senior coaching role, becoming the first assistant coach under Cameron to become AFL head coach.

Despite high hopes for the 2020 season, a global pandemic was declared on the eve of the 2020 season, and after being forced out of their hometowns after Round 8, the giants collapsed and burned to the finish line in tenth place.

The start to 0-3 the following year predicted another tough season for the Giants, but for Cameron’s achievement he got them out of trouble and in the second week of the final where they lost by 35 points to the Geelong Cats in Perth.

For this effort, he won third place in the Alan Jeans Coach of the Year award, behind only grand finalists Simon Goodwin and Luke Beveridge.

That’s what brings us to this season, which the Giants have started poorly, winning just two of their first eight matches. Both of these wins were against teams currently out of eight.

Before the start of the season, former AFL CEO Andrew Demetrius – the architect of the AFL’s Western Sydney project mentioned above – announced that the Giants had the potential to become a “powerhouse”.

Last Saturday night, Cameron described the Giants as “annoying” after scoring just four goals at 53-points against the Geelong Cats, which eventually proved to be a tipping point as he was worried about his coaching future.

A week earlier, they had been seen turning a corner after a riot against the Adelaide Crowds at the Adelaide Oval, as they had won the same match by 59 points last year.

But after a disappointing start to the 2022 season, it has become clear that the successes they have enjoyed over the past few years have finally caught up with them and the club’s flagship window may be closed for the time being.

The 49-year-old will bow his head with his head held high, transforming the club from an easy-beat to a finalist, winning at least one final every September campaign (2016-19 and 2021).

Leon Cameron

(Adam Trafford / AFL Media / Getty Images)

These include three wins from the Sydney Derby in a series of finals against the Sydney Swans, as well as the famous early final win against Collingwood in 2019, which not only stunned the black and white armies, but also their cheerleader ‘Jofa’ Corfe and President Adeo. McGuire.

He left with the respect and trust of his peers for their tireless efforts to move the club from its infancy and transform it into one of the real strengths of the competition through their unexpected run in the 2019 Grand Final.

The end of his coaching career – for now – is similar to the end of his 256-game playing career in 2003. Cameron played for the Western Bulldogs and Richmond. In 2003, he admitted that the growing speed of the game had caught up with him.

So Sunday promises a passionate afternoon at the Giants Stadium in Sydney and there is no doubt that the Giants will want to send him a winner against Carlton team who have improved tremendously this season under reincarnation coach Michael Voss.

Coleman medalist Harry Mack, who has been ruled out for six weeks due to a knee injury in his side’s win over Crowe at Marvel Stadium last Sunday, will have to think about a less-than-opposing Leon Cameron in preparation for his final game day. .

Assistant coach Mark McVeigh will then step into the caretaker position as the second former Ascendon after Kevin Sheddy, who will be appointed to the hot seat at the Giants.

He is, of course, the brother of Swan Premiership-winning captain Jarad McVee. Both are residents of Pennant Hills, the same suburb where St. Kilda legend, 2010 Norm Smith medalist and former Giants assistant coach Lenny Hayes grew up.

The race to become GWS ‘next coach will then begin in earnest, and will be followed by many plots throughout the season.

Alastair Clarkson is at the top of their hit list, although according to former Hawthorne Premiership defender Campbell Brown, he could be more suitable for the Gold Coast Sons. Sons coach Stuart Dew is under increasing pressure to keep his job.

There has also been speculation as to whether James Hard could return to the AFL coaching caper for the first time since the supplemental fallout due to his departure from Ascendon in 2015, with Ross Lyon and Nathan Buckle all right.

Unless tried, Adam Kingsley (Richmond), Adam Yays (Melbourne) and Scott Burns (Adelaide Crow) can all be considered as the next cab out of the ranks, two of whom have recently realized what a hot seat it was on game day.

Yze and Burns completed rounds 7 and 8 for Simon Goodwin and Matthew Nix, respectively, when both senior coaches were disqualified due to the COVID protocol.

Both have also worked as assistant coaches under Clarkson at Hawthorn and if anyone (or both) lands in the AFL senior coaching role next year, they will be the next graduates of Clarkson Coaching Academy.

However, anyone who will be the next head coach of the GWS Giants will have some huge shoes to build on Leon Cameron’s legacy, try to unlock the club’s potential and bring an unlikely premiership to the center of Rugby League territory.

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