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Young talent time was right call: Cameron

Adam Curley  November 29, 2017 11:53 AM

AFL 2017 Training - Collingwood

Former Magpie Lachie Keeffe has joined the Giants

GREATER Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron is confident his club's choice to target young talent in the off-season was the right decision.

The Giants lost years of AFL experience at the end of last season when Steve Johnson (293 games), Shane Mumford (172) and Tendai Mzungu (106) retired, and Devon Smith (109) and Nathan Wilson (77) were traded to other clubs.

GWS did pick up former Collingwood big man Lachie Keeffe (40 games) during the NAB AFL trade period, and delisted Carlton utility Dylan Buckley (39 games) in Monday's rookie draft, giving them at least two players to have played at the highest level.

They also drafted mature-age forward Zac Langdon from the WAFL.

Cameron said that while it was impossible to replace the exit of his five established stars, he was content with the strategy of his recruiting team.

"We really thought that adding a lot of youth into our footy club was the right way to go," he said.

"But we also added Dylan Buckley, who is only 24 but is looking for a second chance, and Lachie Keeffe as a ruck and a key defensive option.

"We feel as though with the trade period and the drafts that we've filled some spots and added some real talent to our list."

The departure of Johnson and Smith leaves the biggest hole in the Giants' best 22, with Buckley and draftees Langdon and Brent Daniels sure to have their eyes on chasing a role alongside All Australian Toby Greene.

They'll have competition from Tim Taranto and Matt de Boer, along with rookie-listed pair Sam Reid and Daniel Lloyd.

Tall forward Rory Lobb is also set to move up the ground and take over as the club's number one ruckman, so Cameron said his forward set up would take on a vastly different look in 2018.

"Realistically there might be multiple spots (available in the forward line) because we might go a little bit smaller down there – we're not going to know that until January or February," he said.

"There's no doubt 15 or 16 players have become established AFL players over the last three or four years, but there's probably five or six spots up for grabs.

"When players step into this footy club it doesn't matter if they're 18 years old or 24, they've got to put their best foot forward, and if they're ready to go we'll play them."