Steve Johnson (Australian footballer)

Steven Leigh Johnson (born 4 July 1983) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club and the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was selected by Geelong with pick 24 in the 2001 AFL Draft. His first few years were plagued with inconsistency, injury and off-field problems. A medium-sized forward, Johnson is renowned for his freakish ability on the field, where he has consistently wowed fans with his penchant for extraordinary goals.[1]

Steve Johnson
Johnson playing for Greater Western Sydney in June 2017
Personal information
Full name Steven Leigh Johnson
Nickname(s) Stevie J[1]
Date of birth (1983-07-04) 4 July 1983
Original team(s) Wangaratta (O&MFL)
Murray Bushrangers (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 24, 2001 national draft
Height 189 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Position(s) Forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2002–2015 Geelong 253 (452)
2016–2017 Greater Western Sydney 040 0(64)
Total 293 (516)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2008 Victoria 1 (3)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2017.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2008.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Early life and junior football

Johnson was born and raised in Wangaratta, Victoria. He played junior football with the Wangaratta Football Club, before moving onto the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup.

AFL career


Johnson was suspended by his club for the first five matches of the 2007 season after he was arrested for public drunkenness in Wangaratta on 24 December 2006 - a charge which was later dropped. He returned in Round 6 against Richmond where he went on to contribute 21 possessions and two goals in a match Geelong won by 157 points. He went on to post career-best numbers across the board, capped off by All-Australian selection on the half-forward flank in September. His 2007 season was capped off when Johnson lead the Cats to victory in the Grand Final, collecting a premiership medallion, and winning the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in the Grand Final. Johnson was hailed as a feel-good story for the year, with a good example of a player reforming after disciplinary action.

Early in 2008, Johnson lost his drivers' license and was sentenced to 50 hours working with the Transport Accident Commission after he was clocked in over 70 km/h over the speed limit in a 50 zone. Teammate Shannon Byrnes was in the car at the time. He had yet another stellar season on-field in 2008, kicking 49 home-and-away season goals and earning a spot on the forward flank in the All-Australian team of 2008. He gathered 34 disposals in the Cats' Grand Final loss to Hawthorn.

In the 2009 AFL season, he played 18 matches and kicked 40 goals, finishing tenth in the Geelong best and fairest award.[2] He was a member of the Cats 2009 Premiership winning team.

In 2011, 'Stevie Wonder', struggled to consistently produce the captivating form that had won him All Australian selection in previous years. He was still a force though, gaining recognition by being honored in the initial All-Australian squad of 40. His season nearly came to an abrupt end, when during the third quarter of the Preliminary Final between Geelong and West Coast, he appeared to sustain a serious injury to his left knee. Racing against the clock in order to gain fitness for the Grand Final against the Magpies, it was heavily speculated that Johnson would be unable to gain full fitness in time. For almost the entire week, whilst his team-mates trained in the spotlight, Johnson spent time up in Melbourne in a hyperbaric chamber. He recovered, and played a vital part in the Cats win over the Pies. He went on to kick 4 goals amongst 14 possessions, thus claiming his third premiership medallion.

GWS Giants

In October 2015, Johnson signed a one-year contract with Greater Western Sydney.[3] In his first match against his old club in Round 2, Johnson kicked two goals as his new club won by 13 points.[4] On September 28, 2016 Johnson announced he had signed a one year contract extension with GWS, after missing their preliminary final loss due to suspension.[5] Johnson played the final game of his career in the 2017 Preliminary Final, where he collected 15 disposals and 4 marks in a 36 point loss to Richmond.


 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2002 Geelong 201216121015015140281.
2003 Geelong 201523121224917154291.
2004 Geelong 201321191435419758311.61.511.
2005 Geelong 201218151295118059191.51.310.84.315.04.91.6
2006 Geelong 201530131396019970222.
2007 Geelong 2020493328686372144442.51.714.34.318.67.22.2
2008 Geelong 20255331333174507147652.
2009 Geelong 20184038255103358112442.
2010 Geelong 20226336274136410131502.91.612.
2011 Geelong 20235037319195514143842.21.613.98.522.36.23.7
2012 Geelong 20211917299166465117940.90.814.27.922.15.64.5
2013 Geelong 20192323315231546108871.21.216.612.
2014 Geelong 2018171426519946492940.90.814.711.
2015 Geelong 2020302525615641299461.51.312.87.820.65.02.3
2016 Greater Western Sydney 1722432625515240793632.
2017 Greater Western Sydney 1718211615911527479501.
Career[6] 293 516 367 3650 1977 5627 1546 851 1.8 1.3 12.5 6.7 19.2 5.3 2.9

Career highlights





Not long after his retirement as an AFL player, Johnson joined the Sydney Swans as an assistant coach.[7]


  1. Murphy, Bob (31 May 2012). "Trick of the light, or just another Stevie J trick?".
  2. Ablett, Enright share best and fairest award ( 2 October 2009)
  3. Navaratnam, Dinny (19 October 2015). "Former Cats champ Stevie J to play on at Giants". Bigpond. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  4. Adaimy, Roje (3 April 2016). "Giant shock for the Cats in Canberra". Australian Football League. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  5. Buckley, James (28 September 2016). "Steve Johnson re-signs with Greater Western Sydney Giants until 2017".
  6. "Steve Johnson". AFL Tables. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  7. "Sydney bolsters coaching stocks". Sydney Swans. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
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