Jeremy Cameron celebrates a goal during Geelong's clash against North Melbourne in round five, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

SAME, same. But different. Kinda.

Jeremy Cameron's start to the season has taken no one by surprise. The superstar Geelong spearhead is still among the game's best and most influential players and is still arguably the competition's most lethal forward.

But he's doing it in an ever more slightly different way, and it's having profound results.

Cameron kicked six goals in Sunday's comfortable victory over North Melbourne, adding to a run of four consecutive matches against St Kilda, Adelaide, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs where he kicked two in each to start the year.

It put the three-time All-Australian on 14 goals for the campaign, narrowly behind Jesse Hogan (18), Charlie Curnow (17) and Bayley Fritsch (16) in the race for the Coleman Medal.

But his output in a range of other metrics has improved, and it might have something to do with Cameron subtly being deployed by Cats coach Chris Scott in a slightly more enhanced role.


Last season, Champion Data noted that Cameron spent 99 per cent of game time as a forward and the remaining one per cent in the midfield. But, to start this year, Cameron's midfield numbers have risen to seven per cent.

It might not seem like much at all. But, when you compare the figures to other key forwards across the competition, a seven per cent leap in midfield time is significant given it's one of few areas where positional changes aren't common.

So, while Cameron's goals return is on par with his remarkable 235-game career – he has kicked 50-plus goals in six of his last 11 seasons, and is on track to do so again this year – his all-round game is incredibly still improving.

Through his first five matches of the campaign, Cameron is averaging a career-high 13.6 AFL Player Ratings points per game. Given that is Champion Data's most definitive statistic to define influence on a contest, it shows that the 31-year-old is having a bigger say on games now than ever before.

Tyson Stengle and Jeremy Cameron celebrate during the round four match between the Western Bulldogs and Geelong at Adelaide Oval, April 06, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

He's also winning more of the footy while playing higher up the ground – he had 27 disposals against the Western Bulldogs last week and then 21 against North Melbourne on Sunday – enabling him to impact the game in a larger variety of ways.

Champion Data notes that Cameron is now averaging career-highs for disposals (18.6), uncontested possessions (14.6), marks (7.6), score assists (1.4) and score involvements (8.0), highlighting that greater influence.

But the fact Cameron is now doing all of that, while not losing his goals return – his average of 2.8 goals per match is the fourth best of his career, but is rated by Champion Data as 'elite' among key forwards – shows the value of his new-ish role.

Speaking on Sunday afternoon, Scott suggested Cameron would continue to roam higher up the field depending on the weekly match-up. As things stand, such calls have proved pivotal in bringing Geelong back into the premiership mix.


"He's a difficult match-up," Scott said after the win over the Kangaroos.

"We're always keen to explore how we can challenge the opposition with that. There's no question in my mind, at least, that he could play as a deep forward and be a handful for any team and any individual match-up. But we think he's able to complement the rest of our group by mixing it up a little bit.

"It's still a work in progress, that part of it, and exactly how we use him. We'll get Tom Hawkins back next week and Patrick Dangerfield will play next week, so that mix is evolving at this stage of the year. It's promising for us."