VFL Record RD 10 - Brett Johnson
Clubs: Box Hill Hawks, Northern Bullants, Williamstown
Honours: Box Hill Hawks premiership player 2001; Williamstown captain 2007-10; Williamstown Best & Fairest 2008; VFL representative player 2007, ’08 & 10; VFL representative captain; VFL Team Of The Year 2006-07-08 (captain)
SEVERAL months ago Brett Johnson took up a position with the helping footballers make the transition into and from AFL ranks.
For most VFL observers it’s an appropriate position as Johnson has been helping his teammates to great effect now for the best part of 10 seasons.
Johnson’s selfless, team-orientated style has been signature throughout his career, starting at Hawthorn then Carlton and along the journey Box Hill Hawks, Northern Bullants and for the past five seasons at Williamstown.
During that time, Johnson has forged a reputation as one of the finest VFL players in the first decade of the 21st century.
Scroll through his football CV and there’s nothing missing (Williamstown GM Brendan Curry insists a Seagulls premiership captain has a nice ring to it): premiership, best and fairest, VFL representative; captain of the VFL and a host of Team Of Year recognitions, including 2008 when he was named captain.
And, he could so easily have been a dual Liston Trophy winner. Twice he failed by one vote to win the VFL’s highest individual honour – beaten in 2006 by Aaron Edwards and in ’08 by James Podsiadly.
While some players become immersed in statistics, not so Johnson. The 28-year-old had no idea he was on the doorstep of 150 games until contacted by the VFL web site.
Johnson cites the camaraderie of his teammates and the culture at Williamstown as his greatest source of enjoyment.
“When I first went down there I was attracted because of a couple of ex Hawthorn players – Rayden Tallis, Brad Lloyd and Steven Greene – but, I didn’t expect such a long association,” Johnson said.
“Just the people at the club, the relationships you build and the past players are a group I have a lot of respect for.
“They’ve paved the way for players now to play football the right way. “
After leading the VFL to victory against West Australia last month, Johnson believes it’s a further reinforcement that the competition is in great order.
Johnson is convinced with the coming expansion to an 18-team AFL competition that many more VFL players will find themselves on an AFL list.
“I think there is a lot of good players running around in the VFL, several who are capable of stepping straight into the AFL ranks,” he said.
Pressed about the likelihood of stretching his game tally to VFL Life Member status (175 games) or the 200 club, Johnson noted all his thoughts centred around helping Williamstown win the 2010 premiership.
That pretty much sums up Brett Johnson – a team player through and through.