DETERMINED, trusted, committed and disciplined are adjectives Ben Cross proudly uses to describe his close mate, former teammate and Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron.
The Giants mentor is gearing up to lead his side from the coaching box for the 150th time on Saturday against the Brisbane Lions.
Cross and Cameron met on the bus as they made their way to their respective schools, the former to North Tech (now Warrnambool College) and the latter to Brauer College, at 14.
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From there they became mates, teammates, opposition and then teammates again before Cameron continued to forge his name on the AFL stage as a player and coach.
The pair remain in close contact to this day with Cross being one of Cameron's biggest fans.
The former Footscray, East Warrnambool and Warrnambool player has watched his mate's rise with pride.
"It's fantastic to see what he has accomplished and that's that thing in him, once he gets his eye on the ball he will go for it and achieve that goal," the 47-year-old said.
"But it makes you feel proud that you are friends and associated with him."
There is many things the Hawthorn fan, who has a soft spot for the Giants because of his mate, admires about Cameron.
The first is his determination which he first discovered in their playing days at East Warrnambool.
"All I remember from him at that stage is that he wanted to play league footy and play top league footy and his dedication and discipline to get there being a teenager stood out," he said.
"He did whatever it took to make it at that level and be competitive but at the same time he was still a great guy to know."
Cross also sees how Cameron has gained the trust of everyone at the Giants in his six-year stint at the club.
"He has the ability to be able to get on the players' level and relate to them, he has got a great personality and great rapport with the playing group," he said.
"He also has the ability to win them over and get them to trust and respect him as a human and they are willing to come together and play for him and the club.
"He has a good football brain as well. He knows the game inside and out and knows what has to be done and is also very strategic."
How committed Cameron is to the game also stood out to one of his longest friends.
"He was 100 per cent committed to it since he was young and now just to see him get to where he his is no surprise and there were no surprises when I played with him," Cross said.
The Giants are in a bit of a form slump sitting at 3-3 but Cross is confident Cameron can turn his side's fortunes around.
"He is still young to the coaching game, only being my age, and I think he can still turn it around," he said.
"He still often says to me and himself that it (coaching) is a constant learning curve for him."
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