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Cameron quits as Giants coach in AFL

By Steve Larkin and Roger Vaughan
Leon Cameron announces he will coach his last match for GWS against Carlton on Sunday. (AAP)

Alastair Clarkson heads a stacked list of potential candidates to take over as coach at AFL expansion club GWS, with James Hird the wildcard.

Leon Cameron did nothing to dent his reputation as one of the game's class acts on Thursday, handling the situation with dignity as he announced his departure after more than nine years as Giants coach.

The 49-year-old will coach GWS for the last time on Sunday against Carlton, with assistant Mark McVeigh to take over for the rest of the season.

McVeigh is also rated a strong contender to coach the Giants beyond this season, but Clarkson has the job if he wants it.

Clarkson, who is having a year out of the game after engineering four premierships at Hawthorn, is the top AFL coach of the last two decades.

Ross Lyon, Nathan Buckley and Don Pyke, like Cameron, are grand final coaches and also loom as strong candidates should they want the role.

Hird works part-time at GWS in a mentoring role and he would pull off a stunning resurgence in the game if he became their senior coach.

The former Essendon coach was suspended for 12 months over the club's supplements debacle and resigned in 2015.

Adem Yze, who is credited with playing a key backroom role in Melbourne's run to the premiership last season, joins McVeigh among untried assistant coaches with solid CVs.

The Giants' announcement on Thursday might have been a shock, given it is only round nine, but it was not a surprise.

They already had put contract talks with Cameron on hold until later this year and the Giants are struggling with a 2-6 record.

GWS were woeful last Saturday in their 53-point loss to Geelong, prompting Cameron to lament post-match "we were boring at times".

Cameron said he spoke with club chief executive David Matthews on Tuesday and it was a mutual decision that he would leave.

"I'm really proud to say it's a joint decision between (the) coach and the club," he said.

Giants head coach Leon Cameron is stepping aside after nine years in charge of the AFL club. (AAP)

"This is a good decision, as much as it sounds hard."

Cameron said there was no one reason why he was leaving, but admitted he was starting to struggle to give the job the 100 per cent attention it demands.

"I know I've still got the players, but it's a zapping (sic) job," he said.

"Sometimes it can wear you down a little bit."

Cameron will have a few weeks off, but hopes to stay involved in the game.

He added he has no regrets.

Rival coaches Simon Goodwin, Justin Longmuir and Stuart Dew were among those to heap praise on Cameron.

Matthews and club chairman Tony Shepherd also thanked Cameron for turning the Giants into a powerhouse club that made the 2019 grand final, where Richmond thrashed them, and two losing preliminary finals.

Cameron is yet to be involved in a premiership as a player or coach, having been an assistant at Hawthorn when they lost the 2012 grand final.

"He's done what a lot of AFL coaches haven't done - and that is not just coach a team, (but) he's helped build a club," Matthews said.

Cameron said he hoped players and staff would see the handover as a "seamless transition" and said McVeigh would be perfect if he decides he wants the job beyond this season.

He added for all their struggles this season, the Giants have a bright future.

"We've been at the pointy end for a number of years," he said.

"We've done a lot right, the club is in a really good position to move forward, they have the breathing space to look for their next senior coach."

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