STEVE JOHNSON DRUNK AGAIN
By Ben Jensen GEELONG's STEVE JOHNSON has once more been arrested for being drunk and disorderly, this time in his native Wangaratta on Christmas Eve. The erratic AFL star was on 'leave' from the club at the time, presumably catching up with the same old mates he tried in vain to reach at the Torquay Hotel back in 2003. According to Geelong Football GM Neil Balme, Johnson only told the club today (2 January), more than a week after the incident. As most top brass at the GFC are on leave, no sanctions will be announced until 9 January.
In 2005, Johnson and fellow erratic forward Andrew Mackie were arrested after an incident outside Geelong nightclub 'Home House, following a round 19 loss to St Kilda. Keeping in check with previous incidents involving alcohol at the club such as Ronnie Burns, neither player was suspended and fined just $1,000 apiece.
But the Home House incident wasn't the first for Johnson; his struggles to maintain fitness and a place in the AFL stem from another incident involving alcohol, at the Torquay pub in late December 2003. Johnson, who was earlier ejected from the Torquay Hotel, attempted to regain entry by climbing a fence. He fell, broke his ankle and has played just 40 out of a possible 71 games since.
3AW commentator Robert Walls described the news as "very sad", saying Johnson is a "talented footballer", and the Cats, instead of trading Johnson, he was given another chance. Walls said it may be time for the club to say "enough is enough" and it may be to time for the club to "cut its losses and move on", delist Johnson, or at least refuse to select him in the AFL side for the 2007 season.
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE DRUNKEN PLAYER?
The Cattery has believed for some time now Johnson is an unwanted distraction; off field arrests excluded, his struggle to maintain fitness and petulance on field mean he'll never attain the heights fellow 'enigmatic' young forwards such as Sydney Nick Davis have - and that's saying something. Whilst delisting is probably not a realistic option, particularly for the risk averse GFC board, a lengthy suspension and five figure financial penalty is in order.
Angry GFC Members have already flooded talkback stations 3AW and SEN with complaints - should the club once more fail to take swift action, it is likely to result in a drop in membership for 2007.
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STEVE JOHNSON TANGLES WITH RICHMOND'S JOEL BOWDEN IN 2004