GREATER Western Sydney co-captain Callan Ward believes senior coach Leon Cameron is the perfect man to lead the club to its first premiership.
Ward was on hand as the Giants' announced a two-year contract extension for Cameron on Tuesday – his current deal was up at the end of this season – tying him to the job until at least the end of the 2018 season.
GWS is expected to strongly push for a maiden finals berth this season, and with its best players all in or about to enter their prime, looks poised to challenge for a flag before Cameron's next contract expires.
Leon locked in
Ward, who has played 83 games for GWS and this year should become the club's first centurion, has formed a close bond with Cameron since the pair of former Bulldogs linked up in Sydney at the end of 2012.
The club's inaugural best and fairest winner, Ward told AFL.com.au that Cameron's personable coaching style and genuine care for his players makes him the ideal fit for the Giants.
Ward also said the senior coach played a key role in the retention of a host of young stars in 2015, when many outside the Giants tipped a mass exodus of out-of-contract players.
"I would say it was huge," he said of Cameron’s influence.
"It's the be all and end all if you don't like your coach, but at the end of the day if you don't like your coach, it would be pretty hard to enjoy playing under him.
"Guys like Dyl (Dylan Shiel), Jezz (Jeremy Cameron), Cogs (Stephen Coniglio) and Devon Smith, all these players that have signed up, they just all love Leon Cameron.
"I think for a footy club that's important.
"All the boys love talking to him and it's not always just about footy with him, he talks about life.
"Usually with head coaches it's just about football, football, football, but with him the boys enjoy talking to him.”
Cameron's people skills haven't just helped him immensely inside the club with his role at the Giants, but his positive attitude when dealing with the media, club sponsors and fans has been refreshing.
It's also attracted some big name recruits to GWS, with Heath Shaw, Ryan Griffen, Joel Patfull and Steve Johnson all choosing to join the Giants under Cameron's leadership.
"I was immediately impressed when I had my first meeting with him at the end of last year, and he was one of the big reasons I decided to come up to GWS," Johnson told AFL.com.au on Tuesday.
"Since I've been at the club I've noticed he's a really good communicator with the entire player group.
"Everyone knows where they sit, everyone knows where they need to improve and he's a smart tactical coach, so the club has got the right man for the job."
Cameron's 2016 season begins when the Giants take on the Western Bulldogs in their opening NAB Challenge match in Canberra on Thursday February 25.