After McClure introduced Matthews with a short spiel about the Giants on 3AW radio, the GWS boss took his chance to express his frustration at McClure’s commentary on the club stretching back several months.
Matthews said the AFL industry “death-rides coaches” and branded some commentary directed at Cameron “unsavoury”.
“For whatever reason, people like having a go at the Giants,” McClure said in his introduction.
“It seems like it’s just an easy sport.
“The Suns have at least underperformed. GWS for the last six seasons have been as well a performing club as anyone else. The difference between them and Richmond is that Richmond have the flags. GWS don’t.
“Now, I know we’re all in it to win flags, but flags are hard to win.
“I think what Leon Cameron and what GWS have achieved in the last half-decade is pretty amazing… so while I’m not surprised that Leon Cameron’s not coach anymore, I’m fascinated about where to now for this footy club.”
Matthews was quick to fire up when he got his chance to speak.
“I know it’s not exciting for you guys, but it’s an amicable decision,” Matthews said.
Leon Cameron resigns from top job
McClure: “It’s not that it’s not exciting, Dave, but I think it’s unfair to say it’s not dramatic when it’s happened before the turning point of the half-way mark of the season”.
Matthews: “Well, I just heard you a minute ago say, ‘at the very least the Gold Coast have underachieved’. Like it’s a weird position you take on some of these things, Sam, to be honest”.
McClure: “That was actually a positive for GWS. I was saying people couldn’t…”.
Matthews butted in.
“Hang on. But the irony of a comment like that is I think we’ve been a successful club under the leadership and coaching of Leon Cameron,” Matthews said.
“We’ve made finals. I think we deserve more credit and credibility than you sometimes give us. But that’s the position you want to take.
“I think today was really well handled. He’s a very, very decent person, his values are values that are embedded in our club, and when we interviewed him that was the thing that shone through. Over nine or 10 years, I think the resilience and culture of our club is a reflection of Leon Cameron.
Clarkson addresses GWS Giants vacancy
“I think he deserves more respect than you sometimes give him, or give the club.”
McClure continued to defend himself.
“Dave, I think you’ve completely misread or misheard my introduction. I just spent the best part of 90 seconds saying how successful GWS has been and how they don’t get the credit they somehow deserve,” McClure said.
“I said the difference between you and Richmond in the last six years is only premierships. Other than that you’ve both been extremely similar in how you’ve performed in finals.
“I’m not sure if you’ve misheard or misrepresented what I said, but I didn’t compare you to the Gold Coast at all.”
Matthews didn’t back down.
“I’m just taking a line through your narrative in recent weeks and months. You said yourself that we’ve been an easy target and it’s an easy target for people like yourself,” Matthews said.
“This is a club that is a genuine football club in the competition. That’s what we are and it’s more than one person. One person today is the focus of the attention, and he’s a very good person and he’s done a very good job and there’s others who have, as well.
“I just feel at times that you have it 50 cents each way.”
McClure: “Right, well if you want to have that conversation more in depth off air, Dave, I’m happy to. But at the moment we’re talking about…”.
Matthews continued to back his proud club.
“No, I don’t need to, mate. I don’t need to have a conversation with you off air. I’m just answering the question,” Matthews said.
“I listened to your introduction, and I’m saying that today I think was a very good moment for our club and for the game, in fact.
“The Giants have been charged with a difficult task: to actually build a fanbase in a territory that is not AFL in terms of history.
“I think we’ve made some good decisions. We got Kevin Sheedy in who handed over to Leon Cameron. Leon Cameron today reached a conclusion and there’s nothing too dramatic about what’s behind it. He’s been here for a long time, he’s done a great job, it’s an amicable discussion that was held and we’re looking forward now.
“This is an industry that death-rides coaches. That’s what they do, the industry. I don’t like it. I think it’s unsavoury.
“I don’t actually like what I’ve had to say and (in) defending Leon over a period of time. He’s probably fatigued with that sort of commentary. ‘It’s the keys to the Ferrari and why haven’t you achieved this?’.
“He’s done an outstanding job (and) he’s a terrific person in football.”
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