Fan favourite Swan Alex Johnson will dare to dream when he returns to the SCG on Saturday afternoon, the first time since round 22, 2012.
Having recovered from his last NEAFL hit out against the Canberra Demons last Saturday, his first game since rupturing his ACL in 2014, the plucky Swan spoke with The Daily Telegraph and said that he has his eyes set firmly on the Gold Coast Suns curtain raiser.
“It’s been a long time.”
“It will be nice to get back home to the SCG. It’s a 12.55 start and the weather looks nice. Saturday afternoon against a pretty good Gold Coast reserves team, it should be a good match.”
Johnson was overwhelmed with the support he received in Canberra last weekend as teammates, Swans supporters, family and friends all made the trip to the national capital for his comeback.
“It was amazing,” Johnson said.
“I’ve said it so many times over the last few years but the club could not have done anything more to support me than they have.
“For my teammates who had played the night before in a big match to get an early flight to Canberra was amazing.
“So was the general support from the people in Canberra and the people who travelled from Sydney to support me. Then of course my family and friends who have been with me on the whole journey.”
Johnson's focus up until now has been to get his body right to play league football again, but having returned to the NEAFL side, he now has his sights set on returning to the AFL.
“Playing senior footy again is what has driven me though this whole journey,” Johnson said.
“It’s driven me though every setback I’ve had. The end goal has always been to get back and play AFL. It’s what I love doing. I was lucky enough to play two reasonable seasons in the first couple of years. I just want to get back and play at the highest level again.”
Last week's selection was certainly one from left field, with the defender appearing on the long term injury list, listed as "indefinite", right up until Thursday night.
Many of us were in disbelief when he was selected, given that his first run out of the year was carrying the water in the previous round, and the club had given nothing away regarding his playing future.
You can never be too careful with a player that has had to overcome so many injuries, just to play another game of footy, but given his passion and desire is as great as it has ever been, and the impact Daniel Menzel has had for the Cats, it's certainly not implausible that he could become a valuable depth player for us later this year.
Alex's last game for us was the 2012 decider, so who knows, maybe he's the lucky charm. Should we make the 2017 decider, and he's fit and firing and can play, you never know what could happen...
One thing is for sure though, there's going to be a lot of people at the SCG on Saturday afternoon to watch the reserves play, including yours truly.
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