GEELONG'S STEVE JOHNSON SUSPENDED
FOLLOWING DRUNKEN BENDER
By Ben Jensen GEELONG has suspended wayward forward Steve Johnson indefinitely. Johnson was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in Wangaratta on Christmas Eve, the third serious incident involving alcohol in just three years. Johnson only came clean with the club of the charge ten days following the incident, and only then when the club found out on the grapevine. AFL Players Association Executive Director Brendan Gale described the sanction as 'harsh', but admitted he has spoken to Geelong Captain Tom Harley and was satisfied due process was followed.
Johnson has been suspended from the AFL playing group, instead consigned to train with the VFL squad under former goalsneak Leigh Tudor. Johnson faced Geelong's top brass, including the players' leadership group. It was this group that decided his fate, which the club adopted.
Johnson's position will be reconsidered 'no sooner than the sixth round of the season' - that would be Monday 7 May. Presumably, should he not improve he'll stay with the VFL until the end of the season, or be relieved of his obligations immediately (i.e.. sacked). Should his 'attitude and behaviour' change for the better, he may again be considered for selection in the AFL team.
OFFICIAL GFC STATEMENT
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.
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STEVE JOHNSON TANGLES WITH RICHMOND'S JOEL BOWDEN IN 2004