Banned Docker Michael Johnson well on track
PERTH coach Andrew Jarman said Michael Johnson could do with another week in the WAFL after the banished Fremantle Docker made his return from a club suspension yesterday.
Johnson is eligible to make his AFL return against Port Adelaide on Saturday, after missing five matches.
The 25-year-old yesterday played his first game for Perth in five years, kicking two goals in a handy performance as the Demons went down to Subiaco by five points at Medibank Stadium.
Johnson showed glimpses of class, without dominating.
Playing at centre half-forward opposed to Subiaco defender Ben Randall, as well as having a late run in the ruck, he had 15 disposals and presented well to take nine marks.
Johnson’s mark and goal from 55m in the second quarter was the highlight of his day.
“We didn’t expect Michael to dominate the game, we were just pleased that he got through,” Jarman said.
“His timing in terms of his marking was a bit off but just his presence, he gave us a real boost today.
“He probably needs one more (game in the WAFL), but it depends what they need. Obviously Freo have got to look at their balance and match-ups but he needed the run, there’s no question, after six weeks off.
“He’s a class, quality player so the blow-out would have done him the world of good.”
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey said earlier in the week that Johnson had to earn his spot against Port Adelaide with a strong showing in the WAFL.
Kepler Bradley has performed admirably since being brought into the side, filling Johnson’s role as a tall forward and back-up ruckman.
“He has to earn his right back to play,” Harvey said.
“I would have thought (the suspension) would be a driving force behind Michael becoming a better person, firstly, and then, more importantly, understanding how hard the team has worked in the short term while he’s been out and that he needs to add to this as quickly as he can.”
Johnson was suspended for five AFL matches and fined $5000 by the Dockers after he was charged with cocaine possession.
He was fined $500 in the Perth Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to possession of 0.15g of the drug.
He received no additional penalty from the club after it emerged he partied at a nightclub until 5.30am on the following weekend, and that police had also caught him with ecstasy five years ago.
Johnson will be target-tested for illicit drugs for the rest of the season and there is no guarantee he will ever return to Fremantle’s leadership group, from which he’s been stood down for the rest of the season.