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  1. #1
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    Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns to Whitten Oval to help the club's forwards



    For the first time since his glittering 364-game career at the Bulldogs ended in 2010, Brad Johnson is back at the club in an official capacity. Get the exclusive details here.

    Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson has secretly returned to Whitten Oval for the first time since his glittering 364-game career ended in 2010.

    While Johnson has held small administration roles in previous years working with coterie groups, this masthead can exclusively reveal the AFL Hall of Famer has signed on to help the club's forwards hone their goalkicking craft.

    Chief executive Ameet Bains declared in October that a goalkicking coach (would) be appointed in the near future.

    But it is understood Johnson has instead joined as a consultant rather than as a specialist coach on Luke Beveridge's panel.

    Johnson's duties will predominantly be on working with players, rather than attending inner sanctum or sensitive team meetings or having a role on gameday.

    Multiple club sources and players confirmed the 47-year-old started attending training late last year after the club finished 2023 kicking itself for failing to qualify for finals for the first time since 2018.

    They expected Johnson's goalkicking services would extend throughout the entire 2024 season but only sporadically rather than as a regular resource at training.

    In 2023, the Dogs ranked 11th for shot at goal accuracy as the likes of Aaron Naughton, Rory Lobb and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan came under fire for some of their misses.

    Premier Collingwood ranked No.1 while the Dogs were 12th for set-shot accuracy.

    Budding superstar Ugle-Hagan was the third-worst ranked shot at goal from the 108 players who took a minimum of 30 shots last season.

    Ugle-Hagan converted 35.35 from 93 attempts (37.6 per cent).

    Sharpshooter Cody Weightman (34.18 from 59 shots) was the only Bulldog to record an accuracy higher than 50 per cent.

    Weightman's 57.6 per cent ranked No.26 in the AFL, with North Melbourne's Nick Larkey (71 per cent) and Melbourne's Jacob van Rooyen (70) leading the competition

    DOGS 2023 SHOT AT GOAL ACCURACY
    Shots Goals Accuracy AFL Rank
    Cody Weightman 59 34 57.6% 26th
    Aaron Naughton 88 44 50% 59th
    Rory Lobb 48 24 50% 59th
    Marcus Bontempelli 38 19 50% 59th
    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan 93 35 37.6% 106th

    Wayward goalkicking was a critical factor for the Dogs in their mid-season defeats against Gold Coast and Geelong, as well as the inexcusable loss at home to wooden-spooner West Coast in round 23.

    Johnson boasts one of the best Bulldog resumes of all time. He was a six-time All-Australian (named captain in 2006), five-time club leading goalkicker and three-time best-and-fairest winner.

    Johnson also captained the club from early 2006-2010. The Team of the Century member's 364 games remains a club record and ranks 13th overall in VFL-AFL history.

    The Fox Footy star and respected media face has held a variety of football and on-air roles since his career ended, but this endeavour marks the first time he has returned to his spiritual home in any sort of on-field capacity.

    In 2011-12, Johnson worked as an assistant coach at the AFL Academy and then became its head coach in 2013.

    Johnson was signed as a specialist forwards coach at Geelong during the 2017 pre-season and still resides beachside down the highway.

    Johnson was also on St Kilda's coaching selection panel that appointed Scott Watters for the 2012 season.

    The Dogs have trumpeted multiple off-field appointments since the season ended, but it is understood they had hoped to keep Johnson's return under wraps and he has not been sighted in any social media posts.

    They have announced the signings of coaching and performance manager Matt Egan, backline coach Daniel Pratt, development and leadership coach Jarryn Geary, development coach Alex Johnson, fitness boss Daniel Duvnjak-Zaknich as well as chief medical officer Dr Anthony Hipsley.

    President Kylie Watson-Wheeler also announced that veteran administrator Peter Jackson would conduct an external review and that former Australian Grand Prix boss Andrew Westacott would join the board of directors.

    But there has been no official word on Johnson joining.

    The pint-sized spearhead recorded a shot-at-goal accuracy of 55.7 per cent from 2002-10.

    According to Champion Data, that ranked 20th of the top 50 players for total shots during that period of time.

    Johnson's close mate Rohan Smith was part of last year's bloodshed at the Dogs.

    Smith gave almost 30 years of service to the Bulldogs, but was let go as backline coach in a decision that an emotional Beveridge did not appear to agree with.

    Smith had forged close personal relationships with several superstars, including heart-and-soul midfielder Tom Liberatore.

    Track watchers at the Bulldogs continue to be buoyed by No.6 pick Ryley Sanders, who is already starting to match Liberatore in contested drills.

    The midfielder, who turns 19 on Sunday, is considered a strong chance to make his AFL debut in round 1.

    Originally published as Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns to Whitten Oval to help the club?s forwards
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  2. Thanks jeemak, bornadog, Smads57, angelopetraglia, Eastdog thanked for this post
  3. #2
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    First rule: No golf carts.
    "It's over. It's all over."

  4. #3
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    If Jono was “pint-sized” what on earth was Libba The First??
    www.bulldogtragician.com A blog about being a lifelong fan of the Dogs and our quixotic attempt to replicate 1954. AND WE DID
    Author of "The Mighty West: the Bulldogs journey from daydream believers to premiership heroes"
    Twitter @bulldogstragic

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  6. #4
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Interesting appointment. Hope we do find a bloke to do it full time, but good to hear we're making strides toward this issue.

  7. #5
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Gee, we've had former players who've come back to serve the Club, some good, some not so... A footy club needs enigmas and Johnno's an echidna
    Last edited by D Mitchell; 20-01-2024 at 01:22 PM.

  8. #6
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by straightouttafinals View Post
    Interesting appointment...but good to hear we're making strides toward this issue.
    Johnno was, is, great, love it that he's back at the Club both as a former, less than appreciated footballer and a quirky character. I'm still to be persuaded that it's kicking accuracy that's been and is the problem. Footy clubs are about winning but more than that, character. Johnno missed the former but has plenty of the latter.

  9. #7
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by D Mitchell View Post
    Johnno was, is, great, love it that he's back at the Club both as a former, less than appreciated footballer and a quirky character. I'm still to be persuaded that it's kicking accuracy that's been and is the problem. Footy clubs are about winning but more than that, character. Johnno missed the former but has plenty of the latter.
    Johnno was at Geelong pretty much doing the same thing last year or the year before.
    Bring back the biff

  10. #8
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by ledge View Post
    Johnno was at Geelong pretty much doing the same thing last year or the year before.
    "same thing" ? Life isn't a comic book, L. Well, if you have grand children, maybe life is a Spiderman comic. I'm similarly skeptically that Johnno will disprove truths. Let's see.

  11. #9
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Great stuff. Love Johnno.

    He knew where the goals were..

  12. #10
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Grantysghost View Post
    Great stuff. Love Johnno.

    He knew where the goals were..
    Also a master of the art of "pulling a pained face to make it look like I'm chasing really hard".
    "It's over. It's all over."

  13. #11
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by straightouttafinals View Post
    Interesting appointment. Hope we do find a bloke to do it full time, but good to hear we're making strides toward this issue.
    Agree SOF, I'm a bit puzzled as to why we haven't filled this as a more involved position with regular sessions with players to ingrain any technical changes.
    Having only 1 of our forwards coming in at the very bottom of the Top Quartile of goal-kickers is a serious issue.

    It has objectively negative influenced our season's fortunes in recent years, and I think any club role to address that needs to be more regular than how Johnno's appointment has been described.

    Time will tell I guess, and I'm sure the club are not doing this without consideration, so I'm not disappointed, just a bit intrigued, given Ameet's previous statement about filling that role.

  14. #12
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    A bit like with golf, having a lesson and then practice sessions for a couple/ few weeks prior to the next one isn't a bad approach, especially given these guys aren't likely to need a full rebuild of their actions.

    What should happen is the practice sessions be filmed and Johnno can review and send some feedback until he's back at the club for the next session.

    Aside from that, I'm just glad something is being done and another excuse for poor performance or a stagnation in the fundamentals is being removed.
    Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.

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  16. #13
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by EasternWest View Post
    Also a master of the art of "pulling a pained face to make it look like I'm chasing really hard".
    Ah yes, timeless classic along with pumping the arms fast.

  17. #14
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    It's the equivalent of looking frustrated or annoyed at work to seem busy.
    Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.

  18. #15
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    Re: Western Bulldogs legend Brad Johnson officially returns

    Quote Originally Posted by EasternWest View Post
    First rule: No golf carts.
    That's Rule no 2. The real 1 is no po....

    I can't recall Johnno being particularly accurate but who wouldn't welcome old rosy cheeks back ? If the forwards continue to blaze away and miss, on the rare occasions that they do get control of the ball, then Johnno can be blamed then upgraded to Footy Record seller for the rest of his contract\

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