Steve Johnson is unsure what kind of reception to expect from Geelong fans, but Cats captain Joel Selwood reckons he has little to worry about.
While former Geelong hero Johnson played for his new club GWS in their AFL round two win over the Cats in Canberra, Saturday’s match will be his first visit to the away dressing room in 85 games at Simonds Stadium.
“No doubt it’s going to be a little bit different, but for me the emotion of playing against my old team the first time was a little bit strange,” said Johnson on Wednesday.
“The emotions I’ve already experienced playing against my old team, so now it’s business.
“I’m not really too sure what type of reaction I’ll get, but all I can really say is the time that I spent in Geelong was the best days of my life and I made a lot of good relationships in that town.”
Johnson won three premierships in his 14-season 253-game tenure with Geelong.
But he’s far from the first prominent former Cat to return to Geelong as opposition in recent times, with Gary Ablett, Paul Chapman and James Podsiadly among those to have previously made the journey.
“We’ve had some great players come back in the past and (the Geelong crowd) have really respected what they have done and thanked them for their time,” Selwood said.
“He (Johnson) is a great friend of lot of ours and we wish him all the best with where he’s gone and what he’s doing.
“He’s playing some good footy but we’ve got our eye on the prize this week too.”
Johnson consciously avoided contact with his former teammates before the round two clash, but suggested he wouldn’t be averse to some fraternisation before Saturday’s game.”
“I haven’t spoken to them yet, It might be a little bit different (to last time),” Johnson said.
“I get down there Thursday so whether any of them are keen for a coffee I’ll have to wait and see.”
He said he hadn’t had much input into the Giants’ preparation for the game despite his intimate knowledge of the Cats.
“I’ve passed a few comments here and there,” he said.
The veteran leader and teacher of an otherwise youthful and also potent Giants attack, Johnson said the GWS forward line were still building their cohesion.