Cameron Bruce - Melbourne / Hawthorn

 

Date of Birth : 14th August 1976

Height/Weight : 190 cms (6' 3"), 85 kgs (13st 5lb)

Clubs:

Melbourne 2000 - 2010

224 games, 210 goals

Guernsey No : 32

Hawthorn 2011 - 2012

10 games, 1 goal

Guernsey No : 17

Comment:

Bruce had a long and tortuous route to the big time. He played every game in the Demons reserves in 1998 and polled in the top 10 for the reserves' best and fairest award, but the Demons could not find a place for him on the senior list. In 1999 he was again on the supplementary list and admitted to being down in confidence at times when he seemed to be ignored. He did not advance via the normal "system" and played no games in the VFL TAC Under-18 competition or with the VFL club. He preferred to return to the amateur ranks with Melbourne High School Old Boys and play alongside his old mates. Part of this problem had been a lack of bulk, but at the age of 16 he began to gain a few kilos. He had been part of the Prahran Dragons under 15 squad (now Sandringham Dragons), but had fallen by the wayside due to the training demands which required him to train three times a week. In the 1999 National AFL Draft Cameron was a 5th round selection, pick 64 overall.

At 20, and after one year in Melbourne's Junior Development Squad, he made his debut for the Demon's senior side against Richmond in Round 1 of the 2000 season, kicking a goal with his first kick in AFL football.

His 2000 season had many features that seemed to be the culmination of a fairy tale, but in the end he suffered the nightmarish fate of missing the grand final due to an injury. A torn quadriceps forced him out of the team after he lost a race against time in the final week leading up to the big day. Apart from that sorry ending, very little else went wrong with Bruce's season. He was an effective and created forward early in the season although he tapered from about the round 15 mark and was lowered to the VFL team for four out of five games. He returned in time to the finals and played a memorable part in Melbourne's barnstorming finals win over Carlton. The young legs of himself and Brad Green were vital in bringing the Blues under. A clever footballer, he even started a couple of games at centre half forward.

Bruce developed his game as a midfielder, but from 2005 he has been used in attack, across half-back and also as a tagger - the latter role seen notably through his tagging of high-profile players such as James Hird, Chris Judd, Adam Goodes and Nathan Buckley. Because of his ability to adapt to new positions and roles within the side, versatility is often highlighted as one of his main strengths, and he has been regarded as the most versatile player in the league at various stages throughout his career. He enjoyed a solid run of form in 2004, which he carried through to the 2005 season - enjoying a particularly fruitful period early in the season - before suffering a serious shoulder injury sustained from a heavy tackle which ended his season prematurely.

Following the retirement of David Neitz in 2008, Bruce was named co-captain of the team alongside James McDonald for the remainder of the season. This came on the back of his role in the leadership group in 2007. McDonald was named as permanent captain for 2009, with Bruce as vice-captain. Bruce resumed his place in the midfield for 2009 and rotated equally between the forward- and back-flanks

On 23 November 2010 it was reported that Bruce had been training with the Hawthorn Football Club, after being given permission by the AFL. Bruce was subsequently drafted by the Hawks with the 5th selection in the Pre-season Draft. A few hours after he had been drafted by the Hawks, Bruce had revealed on SEN, a Melbourne-based sports-talkback radio station, that he had already been handed the number 17 guernsey, made famous by Hawthorn legend, Michael Tuck.

Reference : Russell Holmesby & Jim Main, The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers and Wikipedia