Jezza a Scratcher fan

March 12, 2024 4:55 pm in by
Geelong big man Shannon Neale in action in the Community Series clash with Essendon. (Jason Borys/Pixled Sports Media)

Geelong star Jeremy Cameron is excited at what Shannon Neale can add to a livewire Cats’ forward line ahead of Saturday night’s season opener against St Kilda at GMHBA Stadium.

The 203cm West Australian has played just five AFL games since being drafted with pick 33 in the 2020 National Draft.

Three of those were the final three rounds of the 2023 season, during which Geelong fans got a glimpse of what has Cameron looking forward to having Neale alongside him and Tom Hawkins.

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He kicked two goals in the practice match against Carlton and 1.1 against Essendon and showed an appetite to fly for the Sherrin.

“We’ve trained strongly together, and it’s been exciting to see Shannon run and jump at the ball,” Cameron said.

“We know how big he is in stature, but when he launches at the footy and takes it at the highest point, it’s really nice to watch.

Cameron appears comfortable with Neale being added to the mix alongside him and Hawkins, which gives Geelong three players 196cm or taller.

“We’ll change things up like we always do,” he said. We can all play different roles – we’re different players.

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“And then you mix in Ollie Henry, Ollie Dempsey, as well, has come on and the way he launches at it.

“And ‘Closey’ (Brad Close) and Gryan (Miers) at ground level, and then you’ve got Tyson (Stengle).

“It’s a dangerous look.”

Cameron is also open to spending more time further up the ground, as he did at times in 2023.

He found himself in the middle of the ground on occasions in the practice match against Carlton but admits that was more about topping off his fitness.

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“You’re up and back, and you’re running around; it’s a good way to get a bit more fitness as well,” Cameron said.

“But, when it does come to games, I’ve done it before.

“It’s understanding those roles and what’s needed at different times of different games.

“Scenarios pop up, and you might have to win a game, or you might have to, you know, ‘Look, we’re not scoring too well. We need to score and change something up’.

“That’s what we’ve been able to do for a long period now, so I’ll just play wherever the boys need me.”

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For Cameron, the meeting with the Saints will be the first time he will play at GMHBA Stadium with the venue in full operation.

Crowds were capped in his first season in 2021 due to pandemic measures, while construction of the Joel Selwood Stand left the northern end of the ground unoccupied for the past two years.

“I’ve said it a few times as a forward; you’re really pumped with it … I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Cameron said.

“We had quite a few here for the practice match, which was great, I thought.

“I finished the last quarter on the bench, and you could take it in a bit more than what I normally would when you’re out there playing.

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“It sounded loud against the Bombers when we had that praccy match. To have 40,000 fit in here now is going to be incredible.

“Hopefully, everyone’s super excited like we are for the opening game and beyond.”

X: @krockfootball