LEON Cameron will depart Greater Western Sydney after just over eight years in charge.

Under his watch, the AFL's most recent expansion club became one of the League's genuine forces. It made its first finals series in 2016, its first Grand Final in 2019, and secured top-eight finishes in five of its last six campaigns.

Here is a look back on Cameron's time in charge.

GIANT SHOCK Cameron resigns, will coach farewell game


October 2012: GWS signs Cameron, a highly rated assistant who had served for seven years at the Western Bulldogs and two years at Hawthorn, to a four-year deal as part of a coaching succession plan with Kevin Sheedy. Initially identified as the potential next coach of Port Adelaide, Cameron signed a deal that would see him work under Sheedy at the Giants for the 2013 season before taking the reins as the club's head coach for the 2014 campaign and beyond.

Hawthorn assistant coach Leon Cameron talks to Cyril Rioli at Hawthorn training in 2012. Picture: AFL Photos

CLARKO IN THE FRAME Will coaching merry-go-round resume?

March 2014: Cameron takes charge of his first game as the club's senior coach, securing an upset six-goal win over the side's local rivals Sydney. He guided the Giants to two wins from their first three games under his watch, but endured 14 losses from his next 16 games to finish his first year at the helm with a 6-16 record.

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Toyota Fixture Throwback: Highlights, GWS v Sydney

Giants and Swans in Round 1, 2014

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February 2016: The Giants provided Cameron with some stability ahead of the 2016 season, handing their first-time coach a two-year deal on the eve of the campaign. It came despite a 17-27 record at the time and ensured he would lead the side until at least the end of the 2018 season.

September 2016: Cameron repaid the club's faith by taking an ever-improving Giants side to the finals for the first time in their five-year history. After finishing the season with a 16-6 record and securing a top-four finish, GWS roared to a 36-point win over minor premiers Sydney in the club’s first ever qualifying final. It booked a memorable, if regrettable, preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs. On that fateful Saturday night in Canberra, the Dogs won by six points and would go on to claim a drought-breaking premiership. The Giants were left to lick their wounds.

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Toyota Fixture Throwback: Highlights, GWS v Western Bulldogs

The Giants and Bulldogs clash in the preliminary final, 2016

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July 2017: It was during this season where claims were made that Cameron had been handed the keys "to a Ferrari" and questions were asked over whether he was the right man to drive it. The Giants had, to that point, inherited players like Jeremy Cameron, Dylan Shiel and Adam Treloar as underage signings. They had drafted Jon Patton, Stephen Coniglio, Nick Haynes, Toby Greene, Taylor Adams, Lachie Whitfield, Tom Boyd, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto and more with lucrative early picks. They had signed Phil Davis, Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Shane Mumford, Heath Shaw, Ryan Griffen, Steve Johnson and Brett Deledio from rival teams. And yet success was not forthcoming. But, keen to avoid speculation over their coach's future, the club signed Cameron to a further two-year contract extension all the same. It meant he went into the finals series, via another top-four finish, without the pressure of a contract year looming ahead. But a convincing preliminary final loss to Richmond didn't help his cause.

Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron with Heath Shaw after defeating West Coast in the 2017 semi-final. Picture: AFL Photos

September 2019: Despite a steady list of important players leaving the club since its inception – including Shiel, Scully, Treloar, Adams, Cam McCarthy, Caleb Marchbank, Jack Steele and Matt Kennedy – mostly to return home, the Giants qualified for their first ever Grand Final. The club finished sixth on the ladder, but thrashed the Western Bulldogs in an elimination final, secured an upset three-point win on the road against Brisbane in the semi-final, and held on to a narrow four-point victory at the MCG against a high-flying Collingwood in a remarkable preliminary final win. Unfortunately, the Grand Final didn't go to plan. The Giants kicked just three goals and were well and truly put to the sword against Richmond, losing by 89 points. It was back to the drawing board.

Leon Cameron and Greater Western Sydney players after the 2019 Grand Final loss to Richmond. Picture: AFL Photos

September 2020: In a truncated, COVID-impacted season, the Giants missed the finals for the first time in five years. Speculation about the uncontracted Cameron bubbled away all season, until the club finally tied him to a fresh two-year deal just before the conclusion of the campaign. It would take him through to the end of the 2022 season.

October 2020: Despite recently re-signing Cameron, problems at the Giants continued. A horror trade period saw the club lose Jeremy Cameron to Geelong, Aidan Corr to North Melbourne, Zac Williams to Carlton, Zac Langdon to West Coast, Jye Caldwell to Essendon and Jackson Hately to Adelaide. A rebuild mission loomed.

August 2021: The loss of several key players the season before meant the 2021 season might go down as the crowning achievement for the Giants in the Cameron era. He took the side to the finals, courtesy of a seventh-place finish, and even guided the club beyond the elimination final thanks to a thrilling one-point win over rivals Sydney.

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Mini Match: Sydney v GWS

Extended highlights of the Elimination Final clash between the Swans and Giants

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April 2022: Cameron put his own future on the agenda after the side beat Gold Coast earlier this year, revealing he and the club had decided to "park" talks until the end of the season. He said: "I think it's a really smart decision from the footy club. It's an honest decision … I don't want us to have any regrets." It came after the side began the campaign with a 1-2 record.

May 2022: Just a month after that revealing post-match chat, and with the Giants limping to a 2-6 start to the year, Cameron opted to end his eight-and-a-bit-year stint as head coach and resign. He will coach one final match, against Carlton this Sunday, before handing the keys to assistant Mark McVeigh until the end of the season.

Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron leaves the ground during the R3, 2022 clash with Gold Coast. Picture: Getty Images