A GIANT journey triggered by a timely kick-to-kick between two brothers at Dartmoor Football Club will reach new heights tomorrow as star Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward Jeremy Cameron lines up in the 2019 Australian Football League grand final.
Drafted as a highly-regarded underage recruit for the expansion team’s inaugural season, the football late-bloomer will be key to delivering a historic first premiership to GWS against Richmond.
It is a moment in time his parents Leon and Kelly and siblings Travis and Talitha can hardly comprehend given Jeremy’s meteoric rise from his country roots through to being the league’s premier goalkicker, recently awarded the 2019 Coleman Medal for his 67-goal season.
While the 26 year old has retained his love of the outdoors – including fishing, camping and four-wheel driving – his selection in the 2019 All-Australian team reaffirms his status as one of the nation’s premier forwards.
Although his raking left-foot kick and hard-nosed approach will be displayed on the hallow Melbourne Cricket Ground turf tomorrow, Jeremy has not forgotten his roots, stating he was proud to be from the small country town.
In a media conference held earlier this week, Jeremy recalled moving to the Giants as a 17 year old.
“To be in finals the last four years has been huge and you can really come out and play the way we want to play,” Jeremy said.
“Especially coming from nothing and getting beaten by over a hundred points to now being in a grand final is a huge effort for the club.”
With over 150 games and 400 goals at the elite level, parents Leon and Kelly said they were still shocked how far Jeremy had progressed since first playing reserves for the then-named Dartmoor Swans, which changed to the Giants in 2014.
“We will definitely be there and can not wait,” Leon said.
“I hope the team wins and hopefully we see him kick the winning goal.
“They have a good chance as they are a talented and young side.”
Kelly said GWS had shown determination this season.
“They all just seem to want it this year,” she said.
“We know Jeremy will give it his all and his best.
“I think they will be fighting tooth and nail.”
Kelly said Jeremy had many talents, playing cricket, tennis and football over the years, as well as having a strong passion for fishing and four-wheel driving.
“I guess there were limitations for Jeremy as Dartmoor only had senior and reserves football sides and with work commitments we could not take him anywhere else to play,” she said.
“I remember when he was old enough, he was kicking the football with his brother Travis at the oval when the reserves team rocked up for training.
“The next day they came knocking on our door and found him a spot in the reserves team straight away.”
Kelly said Jeremy did not have a lucky first year, breaking a bone in his thumb.
“He was quite frustrated as he had to have a break from both golf and football for around three months.
“He came back firing the year after though and was picked up by the North Ballarat Rebels to then move to GWS the year after.
“As soon as everybody noticed his potential, they rallied behind him to get to where he is today.”
Leon said the family had never been to an AFL football game before Jeremy was recruited, while the 2011 AFL grand final was Jeremy’s first time spectating.
“We actually had to install Foxtel to watch the games from home,” Leon said.
Talitha said her eldest brother had a natural athletic ability.
“He is a freak with anything he would touch and I think he got all the good genes,” she said.
“We used to play tennis together as we lived straight across the road from the courts.
“I think if he had took up tennis, he would have been good at that too.”
Talitha said the family tried to attend as many games as they could, adding a relative was normally always there to watch her brother play.
“I think mum has become a bit of a footy fanatic,” she said.
“Before Jeremy started playing, I do not think she would have known the difference between a point and a goal.
“GWS are in it to win it so they have nothing to lose.”
Brother Travis said he had always looked up to his older brother.
“I have always tried to push that little bit harder to try and catch him but it never happened,” he said.
Right-handed but left-footed, Kelly claims she is responsible for Jeremy’s left-foot prowess, while Leon has conceded Jeremy’s coach – Leon Cameron – is probably the scarier of the namesakes.
However, both were equally as proud of Jeremy after it was revealed he found and returned a stranger’s wallet ahead of last Saturday’s preliminary final clash against Collingwood, leaving $50 inside with a note cheekily suggesting the money be used to buy GWS merchandise.
“We thought it was just normal for Jeremy and it was just something he would do,” Leon said.
“I think all our kids would do the same thing.
“It is a proud moment when you see you have raised a child with a selfless mindset.”