Darcy Cameron wants to play for Collingwood next season with the out-of-contract Sydney ruckman certain to request a trade to the Magpies.
The 204cm Swans tall, 24, is set to serve as back-up to dual All-Australian Brodie Grundy next year and will also add another dimension to the their attack. Cameron played just one AFL game for the Swans, but drew interest from multiple clubs when he became starved for opportunities this year.
Clubs including Carlton, GWS and North Melbourne showed interest but the Herald Sun can reveal he is bound for the Pies, who want to strike a trade next month.
In addition to Cameron’s ruck strength, the West Australian will form a triple-threat in attack, alongside stay-at-home target Mason Cox and the versatile Brody Mihocek.
This year Cameron averaged 100 ranking points in 11 NEAFL games as well as 16.9 possessions, 9.9 contested possessions and 22 hit-outs.
But playing mostly as a pure ruckman he kicked only eight goals for the year, meaning it is unlikely he and Grundy would regularly play in the same side.Rivals yesterday suspected that the Magpies’ hot interest in Cameron could help them prepare for Grundy’s possible departure in 12 months.
At the very least it gives them unrivalled ruck depth should Grundy be injured.The South Australian will headline next year’s free agency pool and will almost certainly field godfather offers from several clubs, including Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
But the Magpies were set to chase a ready-to-go ruckman regardless of Grundy’s contract status and remain supremely confident their dominant No. 4 will commit to a long-term deal.
Pies coach Nathan Buckley has confirmed the Pies will not offer Grundy the seven-year deal he requests given it would rob the club of flexibility in its list management.
The Magpies do not have a genuine understudy for Grundy, with Jordan Roughead (200cm) and Darcy Moore (203cm) settled in defence and injured American Mason Cox (211cm) a permanent forward.
Cameron should arrive cheaply — possibly for a mid-range draft selection — with the Magpies once again shrewdly mining Sydney’s reserves.In 2017 they secured halfback dasher Sam Murray, who made a bright start to his AFL career before it was stalled by a drug suspension.
Cameron played 39 NEAFL games in three injury-plagued seasons at the Swans, averaging 126 SuperCoach points.The Albany boy was overlooked in four consecutive national drafts before Sydney took the punt with pick 48 in the 2016 national draft.
Several veteran Magpies face uncertain futures with Ben Reid, Travis Varcoe, Lynden Dunn and Daniel Wells all out of contract.