After Geelong’s players sat through a session about coping with the stress of being an AFL player, Jeremy Cameron is said to have asked a teammate why anyone would be stressed playing AFL football.
The 29-year-old can’t remember if that was actually what he said, but he agrees it’s consistent with his overall philosophy towards the game as he prepares for his second grand final in four seasons.
No fuss and high reward: Geelong star Jeremy Cameron.Credit:Getty Images
“I can’t remember that exact sort of quote. Nigel Lappin, our sort of forward-line coach that we sort of talk to the most out of the coaches, stresses for me, so I don’t have to worry about that,” Cameron laughs.
“I started playing football because I had fun doing it and that is what I still try and do, I just have fun. It’s always more fun when you win, but even when you lose and the result doesn’t go your way it’s pretty fun to be there on the ground playing footy in front of people who have paid money to see you play. I always looked at it in that sense.”
Fun is one of the attributes Cameron has brought to Geelong, and his wry sense of humour and laid-back attitude are the envy even of his measured and three-time premiership forward coach.
That lightness of touch extends to his left foot, which he often uses to caress the football towards a target, as he did when he kicked a match-defining goal from the boundary in the qualifying final against Collingwood.
This season Cameron has kicked 63 goals, the fourth time he has reached that target but the first time in his career he has passed 60 goals with a teammate eyeballing him on the goalkicking table.
Tom Hawkins has kicked 64, with the pairing building up a great relationship on and off the field since Cameron arrived in 2021 to play alongside the Cats champion.
Apart from regularly checking with each other on weather fronts from their farms just outside Geelong, they have compared notes on forward craft, opponents and approaches to training and goalkicking.
“We bounce things off each other all the time in the club, away from the club. It’s been special. Hopefully, we can have a good outing together on Saturday,” Cameron said.
Jeremy Cameron celebrates a goal with Tom Hawkins. The pair have kicked 127 goals between them in 2022. Credit:AFL Photos
The presence of the ‘Tomahawk’ was a significant reason why Geelong was attractive to Cameron when he decided to exercise his free agency rights and depart Greater Western Sydney, having led the Giants’ goalkicking in each of his nine seasons at the club.
Having started his career at a fledgling club with young players everywhere, Cameron wanted to learn more about football, and he knew Hawkins could teach him.
“It’s something I did think deeply about, playing with ‘Hawk’,” Cameron said.
“I know he is such a selfless person and never questioned how two key forwards would get on in the forward line. I knew that would work. I look at him as sort of a mentor.
“I know I have been fortunate enough to play a fair bit of footy myself at the Giants first but then to come down and have someone above me that has played more footy has been awesome.”
The pair both love their farms too, although teammates would question how much advice Hawkins could give Cameron on that topic.
The 29-year-old from Dartmoor bought 20 hectares about 20 minutes out of Geelong on the way to Anglesea, where Cameron lives with his girlfriend Indi.
The pair share the property with their beloved six-year-old German short-haired pointer Billy, as well as a few cows and the house cat.
Joel Selwood (left) and Jeremy Cameron of the Cats celebrate after winning the preliminary final against Brisbane Lions on September 16.Credit:Getty Images
“Everyone gets on, which is a positive, and I’m definitely looking to get some more cattle and some sheep out there in the future,” Cameron said.
His love of the outdoors takes him down all sorts of tracks, with his latest endeavour a plan to buy a tractor.
“We are going to get something done. It’s good to get to know more people in that industry,” Cameron said.
It’s all part of the range of things that keep the star forward occupied between games. Last Saturday, while Sydney battled their hearts out to win the right to play Geelong in the grand final, Cameron was in the shed with the radio on, banging out a benchtop before, as he said, “calling it a day”.
“The farm is not too big, not too small,” he said. “Plenty to do, which takes my mind away from footy, and I can just turn up on game day and do my best.”
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