Johnson keeps improving as Cats dominate - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnson keeps improving as Cats dominate

By Roger Vaughan 09/05/2009 07:13:12 PM Comments (0)

The improvement continues for Geelong star Steve Johnson as he builds on the best two seasons of his AFL career.

Johnson played a key role in Saturday's 51-point win over Sydney at Skilled Stadium, kicking four first-half goals to help break the game open.

He kicked three behinds in the scrappy first term and then scored Geelong's first goal just before quarter-time to put the Cats ahead.

The half-forward's performance earnt high praise from coach Mark Thompson, who is seeing a greater focus on teamwork in Johnson's game.

"He's playing more consistently - he's getting a lot of attention and playing more consistently," Thompson said.

"He's running well, pulling up well from games and playing probably more team footy than what he's ever played before in his life.

"He should be congratulated for that."

Johnson said he had no opinion about his coach's comments, but admitted his start to this season had been an improvement on 12 months' ago.

"I've definitely started this year a lot better than I did last year, I was probably a little bit slow to start last year ... it's probably nice to hear the coach is saying that," he said.

Johnson has made the last two All-Australian teams and won the Norm Smith Medal in Geelong's drought-breaking 2007 premiership.

His career now is far removed from the end of the 2006 season, when the Cats were prepared to trade him.

Geelong, like Johnson, are somehow only playing better this season as they show no ill-effects of last year's shock grand final loss to Hawthorn.

They are unbeaten this season and have won 49 of their last 52 games.

The Cats were without No.1 player Gary Ablett because of injury on Saturday, but it did not matter.

Geelong also absorbed Sydney's renowned physical pressure before easily dispatching them.

"There's no doubt we've got very good depth, we've got players in the VFL who are very stiff that they're not playing in the AFL side," Johnson said..

"So we know if there are injuries, there are going to be guys who are capable of coming in and playing their role, that's exactly what happened today.

"When you come up against Sydney, you know it's going to be a low-possession game because they play man-on-man and they don't allow the opposition to take easy, uncontested possessions.

"We adapt pretty well to whatever side we're playing ... Sydney, where they try to lock down on you, make it a contested style of footy, we're happy with that because we've got big bodies."

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