‘Judge him on what’s available’: Bartel backs Giants coach Cameron after poor season start

GWS Giants director Jimmy Bartel has backed coach Leon Cameron after his side slipped to a 0-3 start to the season following Sunday night’s loss to Melbourne.

Bartel said Cameron’s night in the coaches box wasn’t to blame for the 34-point loss to the Demons in Canberra, after the side was decimated by injuries to Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis and Matt de Boer throughout the match.

Pressure mounts on Leon Cameron after the Giants slipped to 0-3.Credit:Getty Images

“I thought his coaching performance was pretty good last night, considering what ended up happening throughout the game,” Bartel said on 3AW on Monday.

“They started the game brilliantly when they had a full 22 plus the sub.

“You’ve got to judge him on what’s available for Leon Cameron, you can’t then judge him like he’s got a full list. If he doesn’t have a full list, you’ve got to judge him on his coaching performance.

“There’s not too many coaches who have their side constantly picked at but that’s just the nature [of the beast].”

Bartel said the Giants haven’t been able to replace talent and top-up with mature-aged players like some other premiership contenders, having lost key forward Jeremy Cameron and midfielders such as Dylan Shiel in recent seasons.

“These other finals contenders are adding,” he said.

“We look at Geelong today; they’ve added [Shaun] Higgins, [Isaac] Smith, Cameron. Richmond over the years have added [Dion] Prestia and Tom Lynch. Port Adelaide add Aliir [Aliir] and [Orazio] Fantasia.

“The Giants aren’t adding. They’re always replacing talent at the draft but it’s not mature talent, it’s a 18-year-old talent.

“Last year was bad and they own that, but the year before they played in the grand final and the previous three years they played in prelims and semi-finals.”

Bartel said Cameron, who is in his eighth season at the helm, and the Giants would be judged on their consistency of effort over four quarters.

“I can tell you what’s not successful and that was the game against Freo when they got beaten in contested footy by 30, when they’ve got players who are very good contested [players],” Bartel said.

“Whereas against Melbourne in Canberra the other night, I think you can walk away as a Giants person and go they threw everything at them, and they ran out of cattle and they ran into a very well organised side, who have got their confidence up.”

The Giants have a defining three weeks coming up, with matches against Collingwood, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs.

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