Ex-Demon Johnstone happy with Lions move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-Demon Johnstone happy with Lions move

By Laine Clark 28/04/2008 02:14:29 PM Comments (0)

Watching his former AFL club being thrashed by an erratic Brisbane Lions convinced onballer Travis Johnstone he was better off without the lowly Melbourne Demons.

But Johnstone has not completely cut ties with the Dees.

And life certainly isn't all beer and skittles at his new home.

Johnstone was a solid contributor in his first game against his club of 10 years, kicking two goals in the Lions' 52-point thumping of the Demons on Sunday.

At first reluctant to be traded in 2008, Johnstone sounded like a relieved man after the Demons' sixth straight loss.

"I think I made the right decision in changing clubs (but) they weren't too bad, their turnovers cost them," he said.

"I am pretty close to most of them.

"I still talk to them a fair bit. I still try and help a few of them - Nathan Jones, Aaron Davey - if they ask questions.

"They are starting to get tagged. I struggled with it a bit but I try to give them a bit of information because they are good kids. Their time will come in the next couple of years."

Win-less Melbourne may be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons but Johnstone is also under intense scrutiny at his new home.

Lions coach Leigh Matthews surprisingly said he was unhappy with Johnstone's form before their thrashing of Melbourne.

While shocked by Matthews' early appraisal, Johnstone said he had faced much tougher analysis from Lions teammates every week.

"The leadership group is strong and demands a lot from each player," he said.

"Everyone has a role and if you are not pulling your weight...the leadership group pulls guys aside.

"There's always an issue on field that the leadership group comes out once a week with.

"I think that is really important...to make the team develop. They don't just sweep it under the carpet and let it go.

"It's very confronting here. You can't get away with anything. But that's good, they are always teaching you new things."

Certainly Johnstone can't get away with anything under Matthews' gaze.

The Lions premiership coach was unrepentant about his Johnstone assessment after the Demons clash.

But he seemed surprised that the media had portrayed his comments as criticism.

"I find it amazing that when I say a player can play better you say that is a criticism," Matthews said.

"I say that is a compliment, it's all in the perception."

Johnstone sounded like he had been stung by the comments but his experience with Melbourne helped him deal with it.

"You don't want to cop it from the coach, in the media like that," he said.

"Maybe if he had pulled me aside and said it to me personally it might have been easier.

"But I've been around, especially in Melbourne when the chips are down, you cop a fair rip through the media.

"You've just got to move on quick, get out and play some footy."

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