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'Cheeky' Charlie's rapid rise

AFC Draft Insider: Meet Charlie Cameron Meet the speed-machine Charlie Cameron who was pick No.7 for the Crows in the 2013 NAB AFL Rookie Draft.
Charlie Cameron of Western Australia poses for a photograph during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships headshot session, at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 2, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Charlie Cameron of Western Australia poses for a photograph during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships headshot session, at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 2, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Charlie’s been elite at any sport he’s tried.
Hamish Ogilvie

A talented all-round athlete, Charlie Cameron could’ve succeeded in any of his chosen sports.

As a schoolboy growing up in Queensland, Cameron excelled at both rugby league and union. The 19-year-old also showed promise in baseball, which took him to the US. But when his family relocated to West Australia for work at the end of 2011, Cameron decided to try his hand at Australian Rules – a game he’d only played for a year at age 15.

Cameron went out to Swan Districts expecting to earn his stripes in the colts, but after impressing in his first-ever pre-season was selected in the senior team for Round One. His rise was rapid, selected in the team to represent West Australia at the Under-18 National Championships. The lightning-quick forward played every game at the champs and rocketed into draft calculations.

“Charlie’s been elite at any sport he’s tried,” said National Recruiting Manager Hamish Ogilvie.

“He’s only played between 30-40 games of footy in total.”

Those 30 or 40-odd games were enough for the Crows to select Cameron with their first pick (No.7 overall) in the AFL National Rookie Draft.

A strong trainer with a good work ethic, Cameron has clean hands and good skills by either foot. Ogilvie said the 183cm, 72kg, Queenslander had been high on the Club’s draft priority list.

“We would’ve been happy to take Charlie in the National Draft. He was in the mix at pick No.46 (which the Club used to pick Riley Knight), so we’re rapt to get him as a rookie,” he said.

“The Swans Districts players love Charlie and rate him highly. Our recruiting blokes in West Australia have pushed and pushed for Charlie, and done a lot of homework on him.

“He’s a cheeky kid. Everyone loves him.”

SA/WA Recruiting Manager Phil Bunn watched Cameron closely this year.

Cameron’s was one of the highlights reels Bunn asked Crows forward Taylor Walker to watch during his recovery from knee surgery back in April.

“Charlie kicked five in a game against South Fremantle late in the year – that was probably the game that convinced me we should pick him,” Bunn said.

“He creates a lot of goals through his forward pressure. He loves tackling – he had nine tackles in one game in the WAFL. Charlie averaged 17 pressure acts per game at the Under-18 National Championships – ranked 7th across all the players.

“He can also take a good mark for a little fella. I’ve seen him sit on top of a pack and take a hanger. He’s a chasing, hard-working, tackling small forward in the Eddie Betts/Jared Petrenko mould.

“Hopefully, Eddie, Jared Petrenko and also Ian Callinan can take Charlie under their wings and really help bring him along.”

Relocating to Adelaide won’t be an issue for the well-travelled teenager.

Cameron attended a boarding school in Queensland, and then roomed at Aquinas College when his parents, who both work at the mines in Newman, made the move to WA. His parents drove in excess of 1,200kms (a 12-hour drive) to watch him play for Swan Districts on more than one occasion this year. He currently lives in the Swan Districts ‘Footy House’.

Cameron has also gained independence through his work as an apprentice mechanic. He was at TAFE when he found out he’d been rookie-listed by the Crows on Wednesday morning.

“I had to do a test after I found out I’d been picked up, so I did that and then they let me go,” Cameron said.

“I didn’t put me off, so it was all good. It was pretty full on this morning, but it’s eased down now.”

Cameron will fly to Adelaide with Bunn on Thursday and head to West Lakes, where the No.42 locker is waiting for him, for the first time on Friday.

“I’m pretty excited and keen to get stuck into training,” he said.

“It will be a good experience for me.”

 

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