AFL 2022: GWS Giants boss slams unsavoury commentary about departing coach Leon Cameron

The boss of GWS has lashed out at “unsavoury” commentary after the Giants coach’s decision to step down shocked the AFL.

GWS Giants boss Dave Matthews has slammed “unsavoury” commentary about outgoing coach Leon Cameron.

Cameron announced on Thursday he was stepping down as coach of the Giants midway through the season and would oversee his final game against Carlton this weekend before walking away.

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The 49-year-old said the right was time to put away the clipboard, calling it a “mutual decision” between coach and club.

The rare move to step down as coach mid-season took the AFL world by surprise and talk quickly turned to potential replacements for Cameron.

But Matthews has accused the media of not giving Cameron and the Giants the respect they reserve and labelled the AFL industry one that “death rides coaches”.

“I think we deserve more credit and credibility than you sometimes give us but that’s the position you want to take,” the Giants CEO told footy journalist Sam McClure in a fiery interview on 3AW.

Matthews lashed out at criticism Cameron didn’t get the best out of the talented squad of players he had at his disposal.

“This is an industry that death rides coaches,” he said.

“That’s what they do, the industry, and I don’t like it. I think it’s unsavoury.

“I don’t actually like what I’ve had to say to people about Leon and defending Leon over a period of time.

“He’s probably fatigued with that sort of commentary — ‘The keys to the Ferrari and why haven’t you achieved this’.

“He’s done an outstanding job. He’s a terrific person in football. It’s a long tenure that he’s had in a variety of roles and I think he’s done an outstanding job.

“He was a brilliant player, he’s been a great assistant coach and in a very difficult set of circumstances he’s coached us very well.”

Matthews was clearly unimpressed with speculation over why Cameron stepped down as coach and declared the decision to part ways with the Giants was an “amicable” one.

“Leon Cameron today reached a conclusion,” he said.

“There’s nothing too dramatic about what’s behind it. He’s been here for a long time.

“He’s done a great job. It’s an amicable discussion that as held and we’re looking forward now.

“It’s reached a point where he felt it was in the club’s best interests to have a breath of fresh air and a fresh start and we were of a similar view. It was a really, really amicable and agreeable conversation.

“Today is really about thanking him and congratulating him. I think today was really well handled. He’s a very decent person.”

Matthews comments came after Richmond great Matthew Richardson said Cameron’s stint at the Giants should have been celebrated more before speculation on his potential successor began.

“Why not on the day Leon Cameron steps away we celebrate a coach that won a final 5 of last 6 years,” Richardson tweeted.

“Just for the day. Surely we can look at his successors … say tomorrow?”

Originally published as ‘Death rides’: GWS Giants boss blasts ‘unsavoury’ commentary over departing coach