AFL 2022: GWS Giants lose to Fremantle, Cameron Ling blasts Stephen Coniglio, Leon Cameron

An AFL cult hero has torn strips of the GWS Giants in a surprise verbal barrage that has seemingly come from out of the blue.

Footy cult hero Cameron Ling has scorched the Giants after the western Sydney club fell apart against Fremantle on Saturday.

The pressure is building on out-of-contract coach Leon Cameron after his team dropped to a 1-3 record to start the season.

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Ling, widely regarded as one of the nice guys of the footy world, on Monday said he had seen enough, branding the start-up club “junk food”.

A lopsided free kick count, another final term fade-out and an inefficiency when going forward were all laid to bare for the Giants during the 34-point loss at Optus Oval.

The Giants have failed to take the next step since reaching the Grand Final in 2019, despite having what is widely accepted as the most talented squad in the league.

After seeing the club’s hot and cold form in recent seasons, Ling says the Giants are the equivalent of unhealthy food because they fail to give anything more than an initial sugar rush.

He said on the Al and Lingy Show podcast: “I was thinking, ‘What are the Giants? What are the GWS Giants’. And you know the answer I came to? They’re the junk food version of the AFL.

“They are junk food. When they play good football and the likes of (Lachie) Whitfield and (Josh) Kelly and (Stephen) Coniglio and (Tim) Taranto and (Jesse) Hogan and (Harry) Himmelberg, all highly talented players — gee, they’re a sugar rush. They’re just a beautiful bit of quick satisfaction and they look fantastic and away we go.

“But you know what I’ve worked out? They have zero nutritional value whatsoever. Their ability to back up and play high quality football every single week and really sustain you right through those long hours of a football season, it’s just not there.

“I just get so frustrated by them. I don’t want to take anything away from Fremantle because that’s being disrespectful, but I just think with those names and the talent they’ve got on their list, they’ve got to be better every single week that they play.

“They don’t have excuses of saying, ‘Well we’re an up and coming team of young players’.

They’re not a health food for me. They are just pure junk food.”

Cameron lamented his team’s poor discipline after the loss to Fremantle, where they ended up on the wrong end of a 42-16 free kick count.

“You’re not winning free kicks if you’re not hard enough or tough enough or tackling in the right technique, if your aerial work is not good,” he said.

“Minus 26 is a massive discrepancy and doesn’t happen very often in a game of footy.

“We have to put up our hand, because I saw some real undisciplined acts from us.”

It was a tough moment for Cameron as he fights to save his job.

Cameron put himself in the crosshairs after the Giants’ win over the Gold Coast when he revealed he and club officials had agreed to put off negotiations.

Last year, the Giants made the best of a tough run of injuries and finished sixth on the ladder. They entered the new season with high expectations but lost their opening two games to Sydney and Richmond.

Originally published as ‘They’re junk food’: AFL great Cameron Ling skewers Giants