Former Geelong hero Steve Johnson isn’t yet playing a major role in plotting his old club’s downfall and has consciously avoided any contact before his first match against them.
The veteran forward, who played 253 games in 14 seasons and won three premierships with the Cats, says it will be a little different and possibly strange to line up against them for GWS in Canberra on Sunday.
“I’m sort of conscious of not making contact because I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable about me trying to extract some information or anything like that and probably vice-versa,” Johnson said on Thursday.
He didn’t expect more than the usual amount of on-field banter and said he would deal with any emotions as they surfaced.
“I’ve played in some big games in the past and I guess the advice I’ve always been given is not to play the game in your head before it’s actually happened,” Johnson said.
“I guess if you look too far ahead in this caper it can bite you on the bum.”
Johnson was sure the Giants coaches would run things about Geelong past him but he hasn’t felt the need to volunteer lots of inside information.
“Our coaches are smart enough to review the opposition and have a good grasp of the way they want to play the game,” Johnson said.
“I’m sure there’s bits and pieces I might be able to tell them about some of the things Geelong do and have done really well and probably still do.”
He was impressed by Geelong’s form in their season-opening win over Hawthorn.
“I thought they were fantastic, they’ve made some great additions to their side over the summer,” Johnson said.
“There’s a lot of people saying they’re a genuine premiership contender and looking on Monday, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be.”
Johnson and coach Leon Cameron brushed aside some public criticism that the Giants’ star recruit had been selfish on his debut in last weekend’s two-point loss to Melbourne.
“When you kick as inaccurately as we did, you open yourself up for criticism,” said Johnson, who kicked 2.2
“From my point of view, I just wouldn’t want to be judged on one week.
“If it’s a thing that continues to be a trend, well, then I think you guys (the media) can go as hard as you want.”
Cameron agreed with Johnson’s assessment of his 23-possession, two-goal GWS debut as serviceable, complimenting him on his honest appraisal.
“People are not going to understand what Steve has brought to our footy club already in his short period of time and that’s the leadership on field,” Cameron said.
Cameron cheekily suggested Johnson might get the job of marking star Cats’ recruit Patty Dangerfield.
“I’ve got the pace, I’ll go with him Leon, let me at him,” Johnson joked.