The GWS Giants sit on the bottom of the ladder, winless and with one of the worst percentages of any side to this point in the season ever recorded. Yet somehow, the Giants’ on-field situation as it currently stands could look a lot bleaker if it weren’t for the work of Jeremy Cameron.

Once a more innocuous underage signing plucked from a less familiar town in Dartmoor – it lies more kilometres away from Melbourne than there are people in the town itself – he’s quickly overtaken his fellow draftees to perhaps become the Giants’ most important player already, having just turned 20 years old. And that’s with absolutely no disrespect to his teammates either.

As a key forward, only picking up the game at the age of 15, the influence that Cameron has exerted for someone so young and in arguably the most difficult position to do so is nothing short of outstanding, given that he’s been forced to deal with his side being in the bottom two for inside 50s in each season, as well as taking the opposition’s best defender frequently since his debut.

To have kicked 25 goals to this point in the season leaves him well on track for 50 by the year’s end, a feat achieved by few players his age, with Lance Franklin and Jack Darling being the only two to achieve such a feat from the past decade. Making Cameron’s effort to date all the more impressive is the contrast in support, with the Hawthorn of 2007 and the West Coast of last year both finishing fifth.

Neither Franklin nor Darling sit ahead of Cameron on the goalkicking table this year either, with Franklin level and Darling three goals behind. In fact, Cameron sits only one goal outside the top five, ahead of many seasoned and established forwards such as Jarryd Roughead and Jay Schulz.

He’s rapidly gone from being a simple target of a top key defender more from fate than anything else to requiring one, and now often overwhelming one. Even with limited and often highly pressured delivery, Cameron finds the big sticks for the Giants often. Not as frequently as some of the best key forwards, but perhaps much more efficiently than second-year forwards ever really do, having kicked 25.5 this year at a superb conversion, giving the Giants every chance.

The Giants’ last month of football, bar their first half against Essendon, has been horrific, with an average losing margin of a touch under 90 points against four top eight teams. Cameron, however, has done all that he possibly could, kicking 14 of their 36 goals in that period. It is a hallmark of a truly good player to stand up when his team needs him to and without the impact he currently has, they would be so much more worse off.

Scarily, he still has improvement to come, as do all of the players in his age bracket contributing to the youngest squad in the AFL. The GWS midfield is heavily lauded and once it starts to win more than its fair share of the ball and deliver it in his direction more frequently, defenders will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with him.

Cameron is already one of the better forwards in the league on current output and he has the attributes and the support to become the best. Time will tell, but everything points in the right direction, and if anything should be the main factor in what eventually takes GWS upward.