The prospect of success with GWS Giants has convinced veteran forward Steve Johnson to saddle up for a 16th season and spurn opportunities to return to Victoria.
Johnson initially signed for just one season after being released by Geelong last year.
A triple premiership winner with Geelong, the 33-year-old Johnson kicked 43 goals for the Giants before missing the preliminary final through suspension.
“I think I can still go to the well once more and I want to stay involved here and hopefully bring home a flag next season.,” Johnson said at the Giants’ grand final lunch in Sydney on Wednesday.
“As much as it was a great season for the footy club, it was a missed opportunity, towards the end, so certainly I see the success building and to be given that opportunity to and the potential to do that next season is something I’m excited about.”
The 275-game veteran confirmed he had other options, believed to be coaching offers back in Victoria.
“I wouldn’t say it was (an) easy (decision). I took a lot of time to consider it,” Johnson said.
“You’ve got to pass it by your family. I guess you always want to play footy because that’s what you love doing,.
“But I think everyone was aware there was some offers to move back to Melbourne.”
Giants’ coach Leon Cameron, who last weekend flagged the possibility of Johnson playing on for another season, was delighted by the veteran’s decision.
“I think he’s got the appetite to play and clearly his legs are still going at the moment,” Cameron said
“He contributes not just on the field, his ability to hit the scoreboard.
“‘He does contribute in making our forward line work, so we’re rapt to have him aboard.”
Johnson admitted it was tough to watch last Saturday’s preliminary final loss, but said he didn’t feel guilty at missing the game for a high bump on Sydney’s Josh Kennedy in the qualifying final.
“I didn’t feel guilty because I can honestly say that I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t intentional,” Johnson said.
He will undergo minor knee surgery next week, a procedure which has become a regular part of his career.
“I think this year is operation number 15, so it’s amazing I’m probably still playing,'” Johnson said.
“It’s a really minor thing that won’t affect me too much, I’ll be back day one of pre-season.”
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