Triple flag winner Steve Johnson insists anything’s possible for Greater Western Sydney as the Giants embrace their newfound status as genuine AFL premiership contenders.
Far from playing down the hype amid fans’ dreams of an historic all-Sydney grand final, Johnson is backing the Giants to rise to another level after surging to a club-record four-game winning streak.
“If you had have said that we’d be five and two after seven rounds, you’d certainly take that given we probably missed an opportunity in the first round of the season,” Johnson said on Wednesday.
“But sometimes those things can be a blessing in disguise.
“So since then, we’ve played really consistent footy and I think our best is capable of beating anyone.”
The Giants have already proven as much, hammering Hawthorn by 75 points in round six during their stirring run to fifth on the table.
“We’ve beaten Geelong, who look like they’re going to be a quality side this year, and we’ve beaten the reigning premiers quite well out here a couple of weeks ago,” said Johnson when asked what gave him the belief the Giants could go deep in September.
“That certainly gives young players the confidence that they can go out there and expect to actually get a result on the weekend.
“There’s still a lot of work to do and there’s still a lot of improvement to come from this group.
“If we keep doing that and not get complacent, anything’s possible.”
Johnson is one of only three premiership winners on the Giants’ 44-man roster, along with defender Heath Shaw, who won the flag with Collingwood in 2010, and ruckman Shane Mumford (Sydney 2012).
But the veteran forward’s three flags with Geelong in 2007, 2009 and 2011 make Johnson the club’s only multiple premiership winner.
His 18 goals in seven games in the 31-year-old’s best start to a season since 2010 has certainly been a major factor in the Giants’ emergence as a serious title threat.
“I’ve been on record as saying I wouldn’t have played on unless I felt I was capable of playing and having a positive influence on the team,” said the 2007 Coleman Medallist.
“In that regard, I’m not surprised that I’ve strung some good games together, but it’s a long year, so I’m not getting carried away.”