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Friday, May 14, 2021

Giants lose stars, gain draft picks during busy trade period

The GWS Giants were once again heavily involved during the 2020 AFL free agency and trade period, building a strong hand for the upcoming draft, but losing a couple of star players.

The most notable departee was Jeremy Cameron, who was traded to the Geelong Cats in the dying stages of the trade period for three first-round draft picks.

Cameron entered the off-season as a restricted free agent and, after the Cats lodged a bid for him, the Giants became the first club ever to match a bid, forcing the Cats into a trade to get the star forward.

The Giants received picks 13, 15, 20 and a future fourth-round pick in exchange for Cameron and two future second round picks. It is the first time in AFL history that a player has been traded for three first-round picks.

The 27-year-old kicked 427 goals in his 171 games for the Giants and was the club’s leading goal kicker in every season since they entered the AFL in 2012.

Cameron had a sensational 2019, booting 76 goals on his way to winning the Coleman Medal as the Giants made it to the Grand Final. However, his form plummeted in 2020 as he could only manage a career-low 24 goals in 17 games as the club missed finals for the first time since 2015.

The Giants also completed another trade right before the Cameron deal, sending Jye Caldwell along with picks 44 and 74 to the Bombers in exchange for pick 29 and a future second round pick.

Giants general manager Jason McCartney said he was happy with the trade and it will put the club in a strong position for the future.

“We obviously rate Jeremy very highly and felt it necessary to ensure we received fair value for a player of his calibre,” McCartney said. 

“We utilised the mechanisms available to us in the restricted free agency framework to get the best possible result for our club. 

“In addition to this trade, we were able to complete a valuable trade for Jye Caldwell that helped secure the return from Geelong. 

“To be able to secure three first-round picks puts us in an incredibly strong position to maintain long-term success.” 

Zac Williams was the other star Giant to leave, signing with the Carlton Blues on a large five-year deal that netted the Giants pick 10 in compensation.

Zac WIlliams with Eddie Betts
Zac Williams will join Eddie Betts at the Carlton Blues for the 2021 season.

After making the Grand Final in 2019, many expected the star-studded Giants side to again be challenging for a premiership in 2020, but a steep drop-off saw them finish 10th and miss out on finals completely.

While the Giants will gain plenty of young talent in the upcoming draft with picks 10, 13, 15, 20, 29, 52 and 88, the losses of Cameron and Williams makes the task of returning to the finals in 2021 much tougher.

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