Brad Johnson (Australian footballer)
Brad Johnson (born 18 July 1976 in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria) is a former Australian rules footballer who was the captain of Australian Football League team Western Bulldogs. Despite his small size for his position, he was considered to be one of the best forwards in the game because of his overhead marking ability, and he also had the ability to play across half forward or in the midfield.
Johnson working for Fox Footy at a pre-season match in March 2017
|Full name||Brad Johnson|
|Nickname(s)||Smiling Assassin, springboard|
|Date of birth||18 July 1976|
|Place of birth||Hoppers Crossing, Victoria|
|Original team(s)||Williamstown / Western Jets|
11th overall, 1993|
|Height||182 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||87 kg (192 lb)|
|1994–2010||Western Bulldogs||364 (558)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2010.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Footscray/Western Bulldogs career
Recruited from Williamstown, Johnson made his debut in the 1994 season, and has been known as either a damaging forward or midfielder. Known as the "Smiling Assassin" due to the constant smile on his face, he is a popular figure around the club and has won three best and fairest awards – in 1999, 2002 and 2006.
In 1996, Johnson along with the entire Footscray football club was filmed for the documentary Year of the Dogs, which was released in 1997. The documentary followed the turbulent 1996 season where the Dogs finished second last on the ladder.
In 1997, Johnson and the Dogs had a good season. They finished third on the ladder and made it all the way to the preliminary final. In the preliminary final the Dogs faced the Adelaide Crows and led at the final break by five goals. In the fourth quarter the Crows made a stirring come back to win the game by 2 points. Johnson played in several other preliminary finals in his career, but never competed in a Grand Final.
In 2000, Johnson was a part of the Bulldogs side that ended Essendon's winning streak of 20 games in the classic round 21 clash. The Dogs defeated the Bombers in a fierce contest by just 2 goals. Right on half-time Essendon player John Barnes turfed Johnson and left him concussed. This led to a vicious brawl between the teams. At the end of the game Johnson ran on the field and confronted Barnes, giving him the last word. The Dogs were the only team to beat Essendon that year, who would later go on to win the premiership.
Johnson has represented Australia in International Rules Football in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003.
Johnson has been selected in the All-Australian Team in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2006 he was chosen as captain of the Bulldogs following the injury of Luke Darcy and also as captain of the All Australian Team. Under Johnson's leadership the Bulldogs made the finals for the first time since 2000. In their Elimination Final the Dogs defeated Collingwood by 41 points. They were knocked out in the Semi Finals by West Coast. Johnson capped off his 2006 season finishing second in the Coleman Medal with 70 goals, an amazing feat considering that he had played the final 11 games of the season with a shoulder injury that later required surgery.
In round one of the 2007 season Johnson kicked a career high 8 goals against the Geelong Cats. Despite several impressive wins, the Dogs didn't make finals this year.
He started the 2008 season against the Adelaide Crows in his 300th game and kicked five second-half goals, including three in the last seven minutes as the Bulldogs came out on top by three points. The Dogs continued this season with many impressive performances and even finished third on the ladder. Their remarkable season came to an end when they lost to a strong Geelong side in the Preliminary Final by just under five goals. That same year Johnson was selected to represent the Victorian football team in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match. Although Johnson pulled out just weeks before the match.
In recent seasons, Johnson has had the misfortune of missing shots on goal after the final siren to win the game. In Round 9, 2008, against North Melbourne, Johnson missed a shot at goal from 35 metres out on a 45-degree angle. A year later in the same round, Johnson had the same opportunity but this time against the Geelong Cats from 10 metres in front of goal on a tight angle in which he also missed.
The 2009 season was another marginally successful season for the Dogs under Johnson's captaincy. The Bulldogs for the second consecutive year finished third on the ladder. The Dogs played their final match in a Preliminary Final blockbuster against the Saints. Losing by just 7 points.
On 1 August 2009, Johnson became the games record holder for the Western Bulldogs. With 342 games he surpassed Chris Grant's old record of 341 games for the club. Johnson went on to play a total of 364 games for the Western Bulldogs and still remains the club's record holder for most games played.
Johnson played his 350th game in Round 1 against Collingwood, which the Bulldogs lost by 6 goals. Later that year whilst recovering from a previous injury Johnson was struck by the club's drinks cart in training. His then manager Ricky Nixon later said that the resulting injury was worse than Johnson and the club let on and that it hastened the end of Johnson's career. On 6 September 2010, Johnson announced his retirement from AFL at the end of the 2010 season. Johnson played his final game on 18 September 2010, after the Bulldogs' second consecutive loss to St Kilda in a preliminary final.
On 4 June 2014, Johnson was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Brad Johnson regularly played as a half forward flank but when he was heavily marked or out of play he was able to play as a forward pocket or midfielder.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
Honours and achievements
|Brownlow Medal votes|
- All-Australian: 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 (C), 2007
- Charles Sutton Medal (Footscray F.C./Western Bulldogs B&F): 1999, 2002, 2006
- Footscray F.C./Western Bulldogs Leading Club Goalkicker Award: 2001, 2005-2008
- Australian Representative Honours in International Rules Football: 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003
- AFL Rising Star Nominee: 1995 (Round 7)
- Footscray F.C./Western Bulldogs Captain: 2007-2010
- Footscray F.C. Team of the Century - Interchange
Media and personal life
Brad Johnson is married to Donna Johnson and they have two children, Ella and Jack.
He also contributes to the website the Roar under the moniker of Johnno.
In 2016, Johnson took part in the EJ Whitten Legends Game. He wore The Big V and was one of the best on ground, kicking 3 goals.
- Stevens, Mark (19 September 2006). "Ausse (sic) skipper needs surgery". Fox Sports. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- AFL Fixture, 2008 AFL Fixture – Round 1, droppunt.com, 23 March 2008, Retrieved on 3 January 2009
- Brad Johnson's player profile at AFL Tables
- Connolly, Paul (1 April 2007). "The field commanders". Sun Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
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