Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has predicted a tough road ahead for the GWS Giants after star forward Jeremy Cameron’s decision to leave the club as a free agent.
After protracted contract negotiations with the Giants fell away in recent weeks, Cameron informed the Giants of his decision, nominating Geelong as his next club of choice.
Cameron is one of several key cogs who will depart GWS this season, on a list which includes defenders Aidan Corr and Zac Williams as well as young midfielder Jackson Hately, while fellow young guns Jye Caldwell and Xavier O’Halloran have also been linked with exits.
Lloyd touched back to his own playing career, where a dominant Essendon side lost some key role players due to heavy contracts to its stars, and said the Giants could head down a similar path.
“There’s always more to it than just money. The way he played his football this year you could sense that there was something not quite right,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“We had a period at Essendon where we lost (Justin) Blumfield, (Chris) Heffernan and (Blake) Caracella all in one hit as well as (Damien Hardwick) because of salary cap reasons.
“They’ve lost Aidan Corr (26), Zac Williams (26) and now Jeremy Cameron (27), so three players at the peak of their powers. They don’t probably realise just yet the hole that this now leaves in their footy team.
“It’s a long way back from here. You can bring in kids, but unfortunately for the Giants, they can’t really attract a player of the same ilk to go to their club.”
Lloyd was backed by Footy Classified host Craig Hutchison who declared that the Giants’ premiership window had now been closed by Cameron’s exit.
“That’s the end of the run, they’ve blown their window that’s the only way you can look at this,” he said.
“I know that they will get well compensated for him and they’ll get good picks and they’ll reload and go again, but they’ve had an extraordinary amount of talent and they have blown their window to win a premiership.”