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Cameron takes a Giant leap

Date

Michael Cowley

Leon Cameron will leave Hawthorn to join Greater Western Sydney.

Leon Cameron will leave Hawthorn to join Greater Western Sydney. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

There is now an exclamation point on the senior coaching career of Kevin Sheedy, and it will come in the final round next season, when he coaches his 678th, and last game ... but don't think 2013 is all about a farewell tour.

Greater Western Sydney confirmed yesterday Leon Cameron would be Sheedy’s assistant next season, then take over his job from 2014. The club hopes to retain Sheedy in some role, and the master mentor is keen to stay.

Just what that position is, will be decided in the future, but what is certain is that when the Giants play in round 23 in 2013 (barring a shock finals’ appearance), Sheedy’s coaching career, which began at Essendon in 1981, will be over.

It was thought it ended back at Subiaco Oval on September 1, 2007, at Essendon, before a call from the Giants and the AFL enticed Sheedy back into the game. That’s unlikely to happen again though.

‘‘There won’t be a farewell tour, I can assure you of that. I’m sick of all that stuff,’’ said Sheedy who earlier this year was involved in his 1000th VFL/AFL match as a player and coach.

‘‘I think that’s OK knowing I have this one year left. How long do you coach? This job was always about starting off and building the club, and we have still got a long way to go.

‘‘One more year we’ll get it right, and keep developing these young players, we’ll get a new voice in, a voice in that is straight out of a very, very successful club, and we’ll see what makes Hawthorn tick.

‘‘We have to make sure we keep advancing this club and when an opportunity comes up like Leon, it’s a situation where you grab those people.

‘‘The club came to me three or four weeks before the end of the season and said we’d like to sign you up and keep you for next year. I’m happy with that, I didn’t want to sign a long-term contract, because I thought it keeps the flexibility about the availability to get someone.

‘‘If I had signed for three years, you wouldn’t even get an opportunity to get someone like Leon. I thought that was the way to go. I’ll just do one year and that keeps everything on the table fair for everybody.’’

GWS chief executive David Matthews said he will sit down with Sheedy in the coming weeks and ask him what he wants to do. He says it is a blank sheet of paper because there are so many ways Sheedy can contribute to the club, and ‘‘I’d like him to stay actively involved in the football side of it, potentially as a director, or looking at a board role. I just think this is someone the Giants want to hang onto for a long time to come’’.

Sheedy said he is keen to stay in football, and continue to develop the game in Sydney and throughout New South Wales. He has done that already, but doing that job, as well as coaching the senior team, can be taxing, and ‘‘it’s not as if you are 40. I’m 65 at Christmas and I always wanted to make sure my health is more important than thinking about what your credibility in coaching is. To me it’s about making sure you enjoy the rest of your life.’’

Asked if he was proud of what he has helped build at GWS, he said: ‘‘Oh yeah. All the work that has been done and will continue to be done, what you will see in 10 years’ time, is that most people in the AFL , in the other states, will say, ‘this has been a damn good job’.’’

The Giants have a good catch in Cameron. The 40-year-old played 256 games for the Western Bulldogs and Tigers before being an assistant to Rodney Eade at the Bulldogs from 2004-10 then an assistant to Alastair Clarkson at Hawks for the last two seasons.

‘‘I am absolutely rapt to be here. What better way can you start out your coaching career,’’ Cameron said of spending a season with Sheedy.

‘‘I’m going to be living off every moment, every piece of advice he gives me in the next 12 months and beyond.’’

Cameron was asked if he expected the Giants to be finals candidates towards the end of his four-year contract.  ‘‘That’s very, very hard to answer. We’re just worried about improvement year after year after year.’’

While the draw is yet to be announced, it’s expected the Giants will again host the Swans at ANZ Stadium in round one. While it won’t be a stand-alone game like 2012, it is expected to be a Saturday twilight fixture.

12 comments

  • Great news for Giants to get someone of this calibre. Already looking forward to next season to see how these kids develop with another pre season under their belts.

    Commenter
    pjm
    Location
    Ryde
    Date and time
    October 04, 2012, 12:01PM
    • Yes. I first worried about Cameron's ability to think clearly when he moved from finalists Bulldogs to Richmond. To "further his career"? At Richmond?

      And as an Essendon supporter (from when a young local lad called Coleman was kicking bags at Hastings), I have a deep suspicions about taking any ex-Tiger later than Sheedy or Hafey as a coach.

      Still, good luck to him if it turns out well, and I hope it does, on the GFF principle

      Commenter
      40 Degrees S
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 1:03PM
  • It always makes me nervous when a club takes a coach with no grand final experience as a player. I believe Clarkson is the only one in a decades to win a premiership as a coach without playing grand final experience.

    I wish Cameron well, but his playing pedigree is from two clubs that haven't made a GF in 30 years. It's more likely he'll build the club up to competitiveness by the end of his four years and then they'll bring in someone to take them the rest of the way.

    Be nice tho if he does a "Clarko" and breaks the trend.

    Commenter
    ChrisH
    Location
    Vic
    Date and time
    October 04, 2012, 12:15PM
    • Paul Roos in 2005?

      Commenter
      mwsh
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 3:57PM
  • I think the lure of having Kevin Sheedy mentor for at least next season and possibly beyond if he sticks around post handover would be a major attraction for Cameron.

    I do think the power job is just looking now to be unattractive. The coaches are seeing the list is not there and a major clean out might be required by the next coach with a hit at the draft or free agents

    I was surprised when they said Ratten didnt want the job too

    maybe they all see something we dont in the Power environment (ie not much of value for them to develop)

    Commenter
    Spudda
    Date and time
    October 04, 2012, 12:27PM
    • Tough choice - one club underwritten by the AFL on a continuous growth path with its future virtually guaranteed and a list that will be very competitive in a few years time versus another steadily going downhill on and off the field that will be turning over coaches on a regular basis over the rest of the decade.

      Can't understand why Leon Cameron would make such a decision............... NOT!

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 1:05PM
      • Thanks for your great work at Hawthorn , Leon. Won't be easy for Hawks find to an adequate replacement . Good luck to you !

        Commenter
        daniel
        Location
        rural nsw
        Date and time
        October 04, 2012, 1:39PM
        • And so the great mystery continues as to why Cameron didn't get the Bulldogs coaching gig last year. At the time it seems an unbelievably surprising and ridiculous decision to appoint over Cameron someone who had never played or coached the game at the highest level. The Bulldogs' subsequent season from hell and, now, Cameron's appointment to a high profile coaching position (following Sheedy) makes the decision even more mystifying. Did the selection panel want to big note itself by an offside selection? Was the panel dominated by an outsider? Did the panel desperately want to appoint a non-bulldog because it had no real faith in Bulldog traditions? Did they think about how such a ridiculous decision would impact club membership? Did they blindside themselves to the obvious by too many interviews or too much unnecessary research? Whatever, the selection panel that rejected Cameron has a lot to answer for, and unless the Bulldogs' improve next year (unlikely) or Cameron fails (even more unlikely) the questions will grow.

          Commenter
          John
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          October 04, 2012, 1:40PM
          • I have only heard high praise from footballers who were coached by McCartney, including Essendon players where he only worked for one year. Would you have preferred McCartney to come in and just paper over the cracks, John? The Bulldogs are in for a serious re-build, have patience and be thankful. They will be the hardest team in a couple of years, trust me. Cameron had been assistant at the dogs for a long time before he went to Hawthorn. Like Sando at Geelong, where they chose Chris Scott instead.

            Commenter
            Andrew S
            Date and time
            October 04, 2012, 2:53PM
        • Good luck to Leon, you will be missed at Hawthorn. Sorry to see you go, but, I wish you well
          Lisbane

          Commenter
          Lisbane
          Date and time
          October 04, 2012, 2:23PM

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