Can Jeremy Cameron take over from Lance Franklin as game’s best forward?


His haul of seven goals and 30 possessions against Richmond will go down as one of the best performances by a player this season.

With Franklin in his 30s, it may not be long before the star forward of his generation passes on the baton.

Giants forwards coach Brad Miller says Cameron, 26, who is approaching the peak years of his career, can challenge for the mantle – on one proviso.

“His best is elite, but can he be somewhere near his best for a sustained period of time?” Miller said.

“Buddy’s an all-time great forward of the game; Jeremy still has a way to go before he’s mentioned in the same breath as Buddy Franklin.

“If he continues on the path he’s on at the moment, who knows where he can end up?

“You look at Buddy, he’s been a star performer for a number of years. He’s consistently been at the top of his game, he doesn’t seem to have too many lean patches.

“That’s his next challenge – the consistency.”

The gap between Cameron’s best and worst has narrowed this year. He bagged four goals in the Giants’ loss to Fremantle, but was unhappy with his performance, which Miller believes is a sign of the player’s maturity as he was no longer judging his output in terms of pure scoring.

Miller, the former Richmond and Melbourne forward, said Cameron had realised it was time for him to take on more responsibilities after the exodus of star players from the club last year.

“Now he looks around and sees he’s one of the older guys in the room, he’s really taken on a leadership role with some of the younger guys,” Miller said.

“I think that’s only helped his own game because he’s constantly in the game helping other guys.

“That game at Geelong, he knew the game was on the line, he looked around and he was the most experienced so he took it upon himself to have an impact.”

In a sign of the respect in which he is held by his peers, star Sydney defender Dane Rampe described Cameron as a “ruthless competitor”.

“You can have all the talent and polish you want, [but] he loves to compete,” Rampe said. “And you feel that when you play on him.”

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

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