Lions want more from Travis Johnstone - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions want more from Travis Johnstone

By Laine Clark 21/04/2008 02:45:23 PM Comments (0)

A week of reflection looms for the Brisbane Lions' prized recruit Travis Johnstone.

And not just because he is lining up against his former AFL club Melbourne for the first time on Sunday.

Johnstone, 27, will no doubt feel mixed emotions before running out at the Gabba against a club he called home for 10 years.

But a sobering appraisal by Lions coach Leigh Matthews has given the classy onballer plenty more to chew over this week.

Matthews usually does not single out players.

But he surprisingly broke that rule on Monday, saying the veteran midfielder's first five games for the Lions had not produced the All Australian form they had expected when they snapped him up in a three-way trade.

"Unless we can get that kind of level out of him, then we'll be thinking he's got to get better," Matthews said in Brisbane.

"He has been a useful contributor but he was recruited to be a very good player, an All Australian type midfielder.

"And I'm not positive if he's achieved that. He should be still working to make sure there's better to come than what we've got to this point."

Matthews said Johnstone would probably be the first to agree.

"I couldn't think he'd be thinking 'I'm going fantastic' as opposed to 'I'm doing my bit but gee I can be better than that'," Matthews said.

"It's harder for an older player to change clubs, but he's settled in as best you can. He's a very, very capable player and at the moment he's just a capable player."

So what does Johnstone have to do to impress Matthews?

Quite simply, everything.

Matthews expected from Johnstone exactly what he did from other "gun midfielders" - to win the ball as well as deliver it.

"You've got to do it all. If you only do one or two aspects of the game than you are never going to be great - that's what the best do, the not so good do one or the other," he said.

"Your Chris Judds, Gary Abletts, Simon Blacks, the gun midfielders can win the contest in close but can still be involved in the flow of play - that's what everyone should be aspiring to."

Meanwhile, Matthews said the Lions (2-3 record) should be careful not to "fall into the trap" of trying to make an example of Melbourne (0-5) to get their finals campaign back on track following last round's 12-point loss to the undefeated Hawks.

"The last thing you should be doing is thinking 'we've got to win by a big margin'. That's the greatest trap, hopefully our players aren't immature enough to fall for that trap," he said.

In other news, Matthews feared Nigel Lappin would need a few weeks' break to recover from a tight Achilles that forced him to withdraw from the Hawks clash at the last minute.

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