A HUMBLE Warrnambool boy who left a mark as a dedicated junior footballer and "special" talent has friends confident he can deliver Greater Western Sydney's maiden premiership.
South Warrnambool export Leon Cameron is set to lead the AFL expansion club to its first grand final on Saturday.
Cameron, who played with Caramut and East Warrnambool before joining the Roosters, was signed by then coach Noel Mugavin as a talented junior.
Mugavin said Cameron was destined for the elite stage.
"Skill-wise, he was so good on his opposite foot. I remember we were playing in the grand final and he'd injured his thigh muscle the week before," the 63-year-old said.
"Johnny Burns gave him a fitness test on the Saturday and Leon said 'I can't kick on my (injured) right foot but I'm still OK with the left'.
"He ended up with something like four goals. His skills were exceptional."
Mugavin, who managed a combined 43 games for Fitzroy and Richmond as a player, is still in regular contact with Cameron.
He said Cameron's unassuming personality was intact after almost three decades in the AFL system.
He's always been very happy to give you his time and to talk about football.Noel Mugavin
"He's never been full of himself or anything and just enjoyed playing with mates," Mugavin said.
"I used to ring him when he was at Footscray and Hawthorn as an assistant coach and he was the same bloke as he was when he was 15 or 16.
"He's always been very happy to give you his time and to talk about football."
Cameron's Giants toppled Collingwood by four points on Saturday to book its maiden AFL grand final berth against Richmond.
Mugavin was proud of Cameron's coaching achievements.
"I texted him the other day (before the preliminary final) and said 'watch this part of Collingwood's game'," he said.
"After a few minutes I thought 'what an idiot I am' - he's up there putting 100 per cent into his coaching and I'm there telling him what I'd look for.
"He texted back and it was lovely to have that contact. It'll be a great thrill for him and his mum and family."
Ben Cross, a long-term friend and former teammate at East Warrnambool, also sent Cameron a text immediately after the win over Collingwood.
Cross and Cameron travelled on the same bus to school as students.
"It's fantastic to see him in a grand final," Cross said.
"We've kept a reasonable level of contact over the years and try to catch up for a beer when he's back in town over Christmas.
"He's been a good mate for a long time."
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