AFTER a decade spent playing with Greater Western Sydney, Jeremy Cameron is on the move for the 2021 AFL season, securing a trade to Geelong on Thursday.
The playing future of 27-year-old Cameron was one of the most hotly debated topics of this year’s trade period and negotiations between the two clubs were not resolved until shortly before the trade period’s 7.30pm deadline.
Cameron joined Greater Western Sydney in 2010 as a 17-year-old recruit from Dartmoor and has been arguably the most impactful player in the club’s brief AFL history, playing 171 games and kicking 427 goals between 2012 and 2020.
Cameron requested a trade to Geelong in mid-October, citing a desire to live closer to his family in Victoria, and the Cats reportedly offered Cameron a five-year contract worth close to $1 million a year.
The Giants were quick to make it clear just how much they value the key forward however, matching the contract offer and forcing Geelong head to the trade table in order to acquire Cameron.
That trade was agreed upon late on Thursday, with Geelong trading Cameron by sending three first round picks (picks 13, 15 and 20) and a future fourth round pick to Greater Western Sydney in return for Cameron and two second round selections.
On Sunday, an emotional Cameron released a statement underlining how difficult of a decision it was to make to leave the Giants.
“The last few months have certainly been difficult to say the least,” Cameron said.
“10 years ago I arrived in the heart of western Sydney with a backpack and a dream. It is absolutely crazy to think about everything that has happened between now and then.
“Greater Western Sydney made me feel so comfortable, it was my home away from home.
“I will be forever grateful for how the club shaped me into the person I am today.
“My teammates, each and every one of you have been incredible.
“I will never forget the journey that we have shared together, from 100-point floggings to playing on that last day in September.
“The friendships we have formed will always be more than football.”
Greater Western Sydney joined the AFL in 2012 and since that season, Cameron has won the club’s leading goal kicker award every year.
During the same nine-season stretch, Cameron also won the AFL’s leading goal kicker award (the Coleman Medal) in 2019 and was named in the league’s All Australian team twice, once in 2013 and once in 2019.
The Giants made it to the grand final in 2019 but were unable to come away with a win.
The team struggled to recover in 2020, during a season heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and missed finals.
Now Cameron will once again line up for a side recovering from a grand final loss, playing for Geelong who were the league’s runners-up in 2020.
Stephen Wells, Geelong’s list manager, said that acquiring a play of Cameron’s calibre would be crucial for the Cats’ rebounding effort in 2021.
“It is rare that a player of Jeremy’s talent becomes available and we are thrilled that he will be playing for us for the rest of his career,” Well said.
“Jeremy and his management have been nothing but professional throughout this period.
“Jeremy had a number of options through this period and in deciding that Geelong was the best club for his future and we could facilitate a trade for him is a great outcome for both parties.
“Our players are excited to add Jeremy to our list. We believe we have strengthened our list through the free agent and draft period.
“There were a number of possible deals discussed and we believe this one was the best for our club to secure Jeremy and strengthen our draft position in 2021.”
The Cameron trade was historic in terms of the value of the picks exchanged, with the full forward the first player to be trade for three first round picks.
It is an agreement which highlights just how highly both clubs value Cameron, a point reinforced by Greater Western Sydney’s general manager Jason McCartney, who said he felt the club had come out of the negotiations successful.
“We obviously rate Jeremy very highly and felt it necessary to ensure we received fair value for a player of his calibre,” McCartney said.
“We utilised the mechanisms available to us the restricted free agency framework to get the best possible result for our club.
“In addition to this trade, we were able to complete a valuable trade for Jye Caldwell that helped secure the return from Geelong.
“To be able to secure three first-round picks puts us in an incredibly strong position to maintain long-term success.”