Greater Western Sydney have confirmed Leon Cameron will take over from Kevin Sheedy as senior coach at the AFL club.
Cameron will join the Giants as an assistant coach for next season and then have the top role from 2014.
“To me, it’s an opportunity for us to get the best talent to come to our club,” Sheedy said.
Cameron, a decorated player at the Western Bulldogs, was an assistant at Hawthorn when they made the grand final this season.
Sheedy is an icon in Australian sport, playing 251 games at Richmond and then coaching Essendon for 27 years from 1981 to 2007.
He led the Bombers to four premierships and is regarded as one of the top coaches in AFL history.
The Giants recruited him to be their inaugural coach this season and it proved a masterstroke for the expansion club.
While GWS only won twice, Sheedy is a natural promoter and he has been the ideal front man for the new club as they try to establish themselves in a market that is not a traditional AFL heartland.
Cameron has joined the Giants on a four-year contract.
“After a distinguished playing career, Leon has served an extensive coaching apprenticeship with the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn,” Giants chief executive David Matthews said.
“He has many outstanding attributes as a coach but also as a person and will make a wonderful addition to this club.
“The next 12 months will give him an opportunity to work closely with one of the greatest coaches of all time in Kevin Sheedy and develop our young playing list before becoming head coach in 2014.”
Sheedy will turn 66 at the end of next year and this succession plan surely marks the end of his legendary career as an AFL senior coach.
Club chairman David Shepherd said they are talking to Sheedy about a major role at the club beyond the end of next season.
“Since he came to Sydney at the end of 2009 on a three-year contract, Kevin Sheedy has worked tirelessly to build this club,“ Shepherd said.
“Nobody has given more to the Giants than Kevin and we felt it was important to re-appoint him as head coach for 2013 and we see him having a significant, long-term role with the Giants.”
Cameron chose the Giants over Port Adelaide, adding to the Power’s problems.
The Power interviewed Cameron on Monday, but he flew to Sydney on Wednesday to meet with the Giants.
Gold Coast assistant Ken Hinkley is now favourite to become Port’s new senior coach.
“To be involved in such an exciting journey for the game in western Sydney and Canberra and also develop an outstanding young playing list was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Cameron said.