Freo's Johnson set to return in WAFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Freo's Johnson set to return in WAFL

By Justin Chadwick 24/06/2010 02:22:48 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey believes Michael Johnson is a changed man, claiming the 25-year-old learned a valuable life lesson from his brush with the law.

Johnson was dropped from the Dockers' leadership group, suspended from playing with the AFL club for six weeks and fined $5000 after being caught by police with cocaine in May.

He will begin his road to redemption on Saturday when he lines up for WAFL side Perth in his first game back since the drug ban.

"It appears to have given him some desire and understanding of careers and the pitfalls of careers and how long they last for and how short they can be," Harvey said.

"So I would have thought this would be a driving force behind Michael becoming a better person firstly and then more importantly understanding how hard the team has worked in the short term while he's been out (and) that he needs to add to this as quickly as he can."

Harvey said Johnson's performance for Perth would be the biggest factor in determining whether he would earn an immediate recall for Fremantle's round 14 clash with Port Adelaide at Subiaco Oval.

"He has to earn his right back to play," Harvey said.

"So there's a lot of things to be taken into consideration with that.

"But purely his performance on the weekend will be a big indicator towards that."

However, Johnson could struggle to force his way back into the squad due to the solid form displayed by his replacement Kepler Bradley.

And with defenders Greg Broughton and Nick Suban also a chance to return from injury after the break, Johnson may be forced to bide his time in the WAFL for several weeks.

The Dockers enter their mid-season break in third spot with a 9-4 win-loss record.

But Harvey, who on Wednesday extended his contract with the club until the end of 2012, refused to speculate on whether Fremantle's premiership window was now open.

"We'll just build, and whenever that opportunity presents itself then we'll talk about it," he said.

"The unknown factor is there's two new clubs (coming in over the next two seasons) and the depth of current teams and how long they can hold on to older players and what they can replace them with - it's very much unknown.

"We'd like to think our planning will hold us in good stead for this period of time."

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