If you’d asked Charlie Cameron about the prospect of playing for the Brisbane Lions this time five years ago the chances are he may have answered not just “no” but asked “why would I want do to do that?”.

And understandably so. Cameron was a key player with an Adelaide Crows side that sat on top of the ladder and was heading for the 2017 AFL grand final, and the Lions were at the bottom of the ladder.

It was an audacious bid at the end of Chris Fagan’s first season in charge at the Gabba prompted by Cameron’s close relationship with then Lions football boss David Noble, who had been at Adelaide through Cameron’s four years at the club.

But it has turned into pure gold as the now 28-year-old small forward prepares for his 100th Lions game in Friday night’s Gabba blockbuster against Melbourne.

Among 185 players who have switched clubs as a free agent or via a trade in the last five years Cameron will be the first to 100 games. And that despite his 2018 season ending at Round 11 due to injury.

In a strong endorsement of the Lions recruiting over this period, the club has four of the top five on the 2018-22 ‘import’ games list, with Jarryd Lyons (88), Lincoln McCarthy (86) and Lachie Neale (81) split only by Essendon’s Jake Stringer (82). And barring a Neale injury it will be the top four by the end of the finals.

Even more significantly, only four players across the entire competition over the same period have kicked more goals than Cameron’s 207 – Geelong’s Tom Hawkins (282) and Jeremy Cameron (244), West Coast’s Jack Darling (211) and Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt (211). Richmond’s Tom Lynch (205) and retired West Coast great Josh Kennedy (204) are the only others to top 200.


Such a favourite with the Gabba crowd, Cameron will become the 57th player in 36 years play 100 games for Brisbane after 110 players reached triple figures for Fitzroy in 100 years.

And with two goals against Melbourne on Friday night he will shoot to the top of the list for most goals in his first 100 games for the club.

It is a record that stands at 208 by Daniel Bradshaw, with Cameron having already gone past Brad Hardie (192), Alastair Lynch (191), Eric Hipwood (151), Jonathan Brown (146), Roger Merrett (144), Justin Leppitsch (143), Craig McRae (134), Luke Power (129) and Dayne Zorko (100) at the same stage of their career with the club.

Furthermore, of Fitzroy’s 110 100-gamers only five kicked more than Cameron’s 207 goals in their first 100 games  – Jack Moriarty (408), Jimmy Freake (278), Alan Ruthven (220), David McMahon (212), Bernie Quinlan (210). And Cameron could tick off McMahon and Quinlan in his 100th on Friday night.

With 47 goals this season Cameron is closing on his third 50-goal season with the Lions. This would leave only Lynch, a five-time 50+ goal-kicker, and Bradshaw and Brown, each with four, ahead of him. And Hardie, Merrett, Justin Leppitsch and Luke Power, each with one 50+ season, behind him.

Coach Chris Fagan will be hoping Cameron gets the three he needs for his half-century and at least one more because in 15 Lions games in which he has kicked four or more goals they’ve won 14.

The only time he has kicked four or more in a losing side was his 150th career game in the 2021 qualifying final against Melbourne at Adelaide Oval, when the Lions livewire kicked five of the Lions’ nine goals in a 33-point loss.

Interestingly, Cameron is the only small forward in the top nine AFL goal-kickers of the five-year period in which he has been in Brisbane, and complements his input in the goals column with a high tackle count and hot forward pressure, and a consistent goal assist output.

Cameron’s 2018-22 tackle count of 237 is second only to Darling’s 248, and his goal assist tally of 64 is behind only Hawkins (117), Darling (68) and Kennedy (65). The average for this group is 164 tackles and 59 goal assists.