The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Stevie J’s future hanging by a whisker
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.