Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge believes the departure of Jeremy Cameron could give Greater Western Sydney’s forward line a different dimension.
The Victorian flagged his intent to leave on Monday, following a disappointing year for player and club, and has his sights set on Grand Finalists Geelong.
The key forward was an underage recruit to the fledgling club in 2010 and has since played 171 games and kicked 427 goals in charcoal and orange.
Hodge explained on SEN’s Whateley how it represents an opportunity for Leon Cameron to shake up the Giants’ offence.
“Were Hawthorn going to be a lesser team without Buddy (Lance Franklin)? Everyone would have said yes, but it turned out that we were more unpredictable," he said.
Franklin left Hawthorn after the 2013 Grand Final for a nine year deal with the Sydney Swans and has since played in two deciders, claimed two Coleman Medals and achieved All-Australian selection four times in red and white.
Meanwhile, his former club completed a three-peat with premierships in 2014 and 2015. Hodge says Franklin’s departure encouraged the Hawks to freshen up their approach.
“You didn’t know whether we were going to (Jarryd) Roughead, to (David) Hale, to Cyril, to Luke Breust. And that could be the same for GWS," he said.
"You put your best defender on Cameron every time. And that makes it easier because as a defender, you know where the ball is going to go.
"You take someone like that out, who is going to be their focal point? Are they going to play (Toby) Greene out of the goal square now? Are they going to play (Jeremy) Finlayson or (Harry) Himmelberg?
“If they get a couple in this year because they have that extra cash, it just makes them more unpredictable."
Hodge believes the impact of the pandemic can’t be overlooked in assessing the Giants’ fall from a maiden Grand Final berth in 2019 to 10th this season.
“They’ve lost a couple of players and they were a little bit wayward this year, but so many teams (were) because of the situation of hub life," he said.
“Jeremy Cameron didn’t like hub life, I know a lot of Hawthorn people didn’t like hub life, West Coast players when they came over to Queensland didn’t like hub life.
“This has been a weird year, but you can’t throw everything out. GWS before this year had four really good, consistent years.
“Hopefully if everything goes back to normal you’ll see the GWS we had for the last four years.”