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Johnson proof of Australian pride

By Chris Lines 30/10/2003 06:41:39 PM Comments (0)

Most players would be satisfied with three straight AFL premierships, but Brisbane's Chris Johnson has given up well-earned beach time to strap his boots on again at the MCG on Friday.

The Australian players involved in the international rules series against Ireland talk glowingly of the buzz and honour of wearing a national jersey, but the best illustration of its power is vice-captain Johnson.

His Brisbane teammates are in week four of a sun-drenched, XXXX-flavoured reflection on a premiership hat-trick while Johnson found himself at a windy, cloudy MCG preparing for Friday night's decider against Ireland.

He admits to feeling tempted to join them, but the lure of having even more bragging rights than his fellow Lions was too strong.

"I feel like that, but there are other goals ahead of me and I want to achieve the goal of being in the first Australian team to win in Australia," Johnson said.

"I've got to keep my body going anyway or I put on too much weight.

"I had about two and a half weeks off (after the grand final), did a bit of work and still had to keep reasonably fit to come into this in good nick, not just a big fat slob - although I wasn't far from it."

Back at his second home of the MCG, Johnson was frank enough to admit this representative duty was not as momentous as a grand final, but put it on the same level as his involvement in the Aboriginal All-Stars game.

Johnson plays the game like a Gaelic native, enjoying the licence he is given to roam from his defensive tasks to use his creativity up forward.

He will be a key in front of an estimated 60,000 fans on Friday night as the Australians attempt to cling on to a ten-point aggregate lead from the win in Perth.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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