The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Ste­vie J’s fu­ture hang­ing by a whisker

- JAY CLARK

STEVE John­son wants to part­ner Daniel Menzel in Gee­long’s for­ward line next sea­son, as the club pre­pares to make a round of “bru­tal” de­ci­sions on its cham­pion vet­er­ans.

Af­ter bow­ing out of the fi­nals race on Fri­day night with a shock loss to Colling­wood, the Cats will con­sider fast­track­ing calls on a batch of triple-premier­ship stars to af­ford them a farewell game against Ade­laide at Si­monds Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The con­test will pit the Cats against their No.1 ex­change pe­riod tar­get Pa­trick Danger­field, and will be an emo­tional send-off for as many as seven play­ers aged 30 or older whose ca­reers hang in the bal­ance.

John­son could yet be in trou­ble with the match re­view panel af­ter land­ing a high bump on de­fender Nathan Brown in the 48-point loss to the Mag­pies.

The ball had spilled free when the Cat made low-level con­tact with Brown’s jaw, knock­ing the full back to the ground.

The star goal­kicker yesterday re­vealed he had key talks with the Cats’ coach­ing staff two months ago to clearly es­tab­lish what was re­quired of him in the run home.

While John­son, 32, was adamant there had not been a for­mal de­ci­sion on his fu­ture, he said he “cer­tainly” felt ca­pa­ble of play­ing on af­ter over­com­ing patchy early-sea­son form and an­kle trou­ble.

“From the first half of the sea­son I gave ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing the club, a good rea­son to ques­tion whether I can con­tinue to play on,” John­son said on ABC ra­dio.

“I would love to be able to play with Daniel Menzel.

“I think we would work well to­gether.

“But that’s some­thing the club will sit down and de­cide over the com­ing weeks or months depend­ing on what else hap­pens around the footy club.”

While John­son may have to be pre­pared to ac­cept a pay cut to stay, a spot on the list could hinge on whether the Cats are suc­cess­ful in their at­tempts to se­cure Danger­field, Carl­ton’s Lachie Hen­der­son and Ea­gle Scott Sel­wood in the ex­change pe­riod

“All I can do is con­trol what I can and I feel like I’ve gone some way to do­ing that,” John­son said. “Phys­i­cally, I feel re­ally good.”

John­son has helped men­tor four-time knee vic­tim Menzel, who sparkled in his first game back in four years at the MCG on Fri­day night, boot­ing four goals from 20 dis­pos­als.

But the Cats suf­fered one of their worst losses un­der coach Chris Scott and will miss fi­nals for the first time in nine years.

 ??  ?? FLAT PIE: Nathan Brown floored as Gee­long’s Steve John­son looks on at the MCG on Fri­day night.
FLAT PIE: Nathan Brown floored as Gee­long’s Steve John­son looks on at the MCG on Fri­day night.

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