STAR forward Jeremy Cameron wants to play for Geelong in 2021.
A restricted free agent, Cameron informed Greater Western Sydney of his intentions on Monday afternoon.
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The Giants are now "highly likely" to match the Cats' bid for the spearhead under free agency rules which would force a trade between the two clubs.
The Cats currently have three first-round selections with the Giants expected to ask for at least two.
"(Adam) Treloar (to Collingwood) and (Dylan) Shiel (Essendon) were worth two first-round picks and are both very good players, but key forwards are hard to find," Giants CEO Dave Matthews told 3AW on Monday night.
"It is disappointing, he is a foundation player and an outstanding young person.
"If Geelong was bottom four, I don’t think he'd be going there, would he?"
It is a major backflip for Cameron after consistently professing his desire to remain with the Giants throughout the season.
However, his failure to re-commit shortly after the AFL lifted the freeze on contract re-signings in July prompted cause for concern for the Giants.
A meeting with club officials last week was unable to swing the 27-year-old's mind, and he has made the call he wants to line up alongside Tom Hawkins to form the most powerful attack in the game next season.
Geelong coach Chris Scott confirmed he had spoken to Cameron in recent weeks as he weighed up the call and was delighted to have secured his commitment.
"It was welcome news from our end but we're really aware that there's a process that needs to be worked through." Scott told Fox Footy on Monday night.
"I think counting your chickens before they hatch is rarely a good policy."
If the Giants were to decide to let him walk, they would only be compensated with pick No.9 (immediately after where their first pick would've fallen).
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It is understood the 2019 Coleman medallist knocked back a five-year offer to stay at the club.
"We are disappointed by this news, having tabled what we believe to have been a suitable offer to retain Jeremy," Giants head of football Jason McCartney said on Monday.
"With Jeremy being a restricted free agent, we have a number of avenues to now explore to get the best possible outcome for the Giants."
Cameron's decision is a major result for Geelong just five days out from the club's first Grand Final since 2011.
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The Cats have targeted Cameron for several years and have been able to manoeuvre their salary cap to accommodate the competition's leading free agent on a long-term deal.
Tim Kelly's move to West Coast last season provided the Cats with flexibility, while Gary Ablett will retire and veterans including Tom Hawkins and Harry Taylor are this year coming off sizeable contracts.
They have also been steadfast in recent years not to overpay for top-end talent including Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood.
Cameron's move to Geelong will take him closer family and friends in his hometown of Dartmoor in Victoria's south-west and also cater to his love for fishing.
He told the Giants on Monday that the appeal of 'rural' living was too hard to resist.
His call also shapes as a major turning point in the future of the AFL's newest club.
After winning the commitment of Stephen Coniglio, Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly and Toby Greene on long-term deals, Cameron will follow speedster Zac Williams (Carlton) and Aidan Corr (North Melbourne) out the door.
Despite parting with their first-round pick last year in a deal to ensure they drafted midfielder Tom Green, the Giants could be left with a bevy of early selections in return for this year's departing trio of free agents.
Midfielder Jackson Hately has also requested a trade to Adelaide, while Jye Caldwell and Xavier O'Halloran remain undecided on their futures.
An inaugural Giant, Cameron booted 427 goals from 171 games for the club.
He was this year added to the club's leadership group but had a sub-par season by his standards with 24 majors from 17 games.