LEON Cameron is busy.
The Caramut, East Warrnambool and South Warrnambool export is on the cusp of his ninth pre-season as an AFL senior coach, has just played a part in shaping the GWS Giants' draft strategy and still somehow finds time to be a loving dad of three.
But there are some things in life you can't miss. For Cameron, mum Annette's 70th birthday is a non-negotiable.
"Like all parents, from a single parent background, or both parents, Mum had a huge influence on us four kids when we were growing up," Cameron told The Standard.
"She did it tough and hard. We shifted around from Woolsthorpe, to Hawkesdale to wherever before we settled here in Warrnambool.
"She's had a significant impact on all of our lives and because the borders have opened up, she'll come up with us next week to spend some time with us in Sydney because she hasn't seen the kids for a while.
"I think it might've been the teacher put on the radio and me and John McNamara were listening to the draft on the radio. Out my name read and away we went. I finished off the year and went to Melbourne straight away.Leon Cameron
"She's going well. Her and (partner) Gerard are going to have a good day tomorrow and some family and friends will be there (to celebrate). Hopefully no doubt a few beers and wines will be had and we'll see where the day leads."
Cameron watched the Giants' second-night draft exploits from his Port Fairy accommodation on Thursday night.
Typically, the 49-year-old is a keen contributor in the war room but a COVID-19 scare at the club's Homebush headquarters meant it decided to minimise its head count.
Greater Western Sydney chose Western Bulldogs' father-son prospect Sam Darcy with pick two but with the Footscray-based club matching it, selected wingman Finn Callaghan.
The Giants then shocked the AFL fraternity with Leek Allir at pick 15 and grabbed academy midfielder Josh Fahey at pick 42.
"I remember when I was drafted at 16. I vividly remember being out at Caramut Road (then Warrnambool Technical School) and I popped out of class," he said.
"I think it might've been the teacher put on the radio and me and John McNamara were listening to the draft on the radio. Out my name read and away we went. I finished off the year and went to Melbourne straight away.
"It's an exciting time and it's a significant moment for any young kids. As good as these stories are, there's a lot that miss out as well so it's a tough business. It's a tough, tough business."
Cameron said he was delighted to work with the trio and recruit Jarrod Brander, who was signed as a free agent from West Coast.
"Finn is one we rate really highly. He'll come in and have impact and I think he'll have it early. He can run, he's got a good motor, he's 191 centimetres and he's got some great attributes that could impact early at AFL level," he said.
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"Leek Allir is just an unbelievable story. To have two of the Sudanese boys taken in the top-15 in Mac Andrew and Leek, is just a wonderful show that AFL touches everyone. He'll come across from South Australia and Adelaide and jump into our program.
"He can jump and take marks and there'll be some ups and downs but we look forward to seeing what he can do. Josh Fahey has some extraordinary weapons in his kit bag. They're all different in their own way. It's exciting and nervous for them."
Cameron, who visited junior club Caramut on Friday where the Mininera and District league club unveiled a plaque to celebrate his career, said he'd relished getting back to the club after a 10-year absence.
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