Geelong legend Steve Johnson admits it was a wrench to leave the Cats but now he craves to help deliver Greater Western Sydney an historic AFL premiership.
As a three-time flag winner, Norm Smith Medallist as best on ground in the 2007 grand final and Geelong’s two-time leading goal scorer, Johnson’s legacy is secure at the Cats.
But the Giants’ marquee signing concedes a part of him wanted to remain in Geelong and achieve even more after ending his 14-season, 253-game career at the Cats, where “Stevie J” is also a cult hero as much for his zany personality.
“When I first got to the GWS and I walked around the change rooms, I thought `geez, I’m going to be playing at a new club’. It was something I thought was going to take a bit of getting used to because I really loved representing the Geelong Football Club,” Johnson said on Fox Sports’ Back Page program.
“I cherished my time there and was heavily invested in that club.
“But it came to an end and, for me, it was about making a decision that I still love my footy and I wanted to keep playing.”
So play on he will, with the 32-year-old signing a one-season deal – with an option of another – with the Giants, who have yet to make the finals in their four-season history but boast the most exciting roster in the AFL.
“Getting to know the young GWS players and really feeling welcomed at this club, I now want to play a small role in hopefully them really achieving the ultimate success in the future sometime,” Johnson said.
Johnson won’t have to wait long before jousting with former teammates, with the Giants set to take on Geelong in Canberra in round two on April 3.