Commentator Gerard Whateley has lashed out at critics of the AFL’s free agency, demanding clubs stop “whining” over Jeremy Cameron’s decision to join the Cats.
Giants CEO Dave Matthews questioned if his former star forward would have nominated Geelong if they were a “bottom four team”, opening up Cameron to plenty of criticism for choosing a successful club as his destination of choice.
But Whateley has hit back at that criticism, describing it as “immature”, and said just because Geelong add Cameron to its line-up, doesn’t guarantee success.
“You cant demand (Cameron) go to a bottom club,” he said on his SEN program.
“Jeremy Cameron was a foundation Giant. He went through the hardest of hard years and then led the rise of the club, topping the goal kicking every time.
“Four straight years they won finals and culminated in a grand final appearance.
“Now having missed, Cameron agrees with the prevailing view that that was the end of the run. He wants success.
“Enough of the fearmongering. Chris Judd went from West Coast to Carlton. It didn’t lead to an era of success. Gary Ablett went from Geelong to the Suns and never played a final. Buddy Franklin went from Hawthorn to Sydney and never won a flag and what’s more, he hasn’t been able to stop the steep decline.
“Enough of the whining.”
Whateley said instead of rival clubs complaining, they should be proactive in return.
“Rival clubs should immediately zero in on half a dozen Cats who are on the fringes of the team,” he advised.
“It should start with Esava Ratugolea and it should include Jordan Clarke. That’s how a mature player market works. They don’t whine that only bottom clubs should be able to get the best players – both (Tiger Tom) Lynch and Cameron already did that! It’s called the draft.”
Whateley praised Lynch, who like Cameron departed his club for greener pastures, for his decision to go to Richmond.
“Tom Lynch was a foundation player at the Gold Coast Suns. He gave the club every conceivable opportunity to deliver their end of the bargain and in the end he had to leave. He was going to waste his career waiting,” he said.
“He chosen wisely and he’s going to his second grand final with a premiership medallion already in his drawer.”