Stevie J confirms his AFL retirement

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    After almost 300 AFL games, Steve Johnson will hang up the boots at the end of the 2017 season.

    The GWS Giants player confirmed this season will be his last at a press conference today.

    Mark Thompson loved coaching Steve Johnson, saying the mercurial goalsneak was a rare AFL talent.

    Thompson coached Johnson at Geelong from the forward’s 2002 debut until 2010.

    “Stevie J is right up there – I love Stevie,” Thompson told Fox Sports’ AFL 360.

    “I love people who could do things that other people couldn’t do and they did it on a regular occurrence – Stevie was certainly one of them.

    “He could mess up as good as any of them, but he could play the best footy on the ground.”

    It looms as the third day in a row for big-name AFL retirements. Western Bulldogs utility Matthew Boyd made his announcement on Tuesday and former Essendon captain Jobe Watson followed suit in calling it quits on Wednesday.

    They join Nick Riewoldt, Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Matthew Priddis, Adelaide’s Scott Thompson and Dennis Armfield as players who are on the verge of hanging up their boots.

    Johnson has a history of knee problems and soreness has forced him out of the Giants team at times this season.

    He has still managed 14 games, but his scoring output is well down.

    After kicking 43 goals in 22 games last year, Johnson has only managed 15 so far in 2017.

    “We want to have the ultimate success and I want to be a part of that,” Johnson told reporters on Thursday.

    “I feel very content that I’ll be leaving the game with nothing left in the tank.

    “The body’s been battling throughout this season. It’s been a bit of a grind.”

    Johnson has kicked 510 goals since his 2002 debut with Geelong and sits comfortably in this year’s list of retiring greats.

    He won the Norm Smith Medal as best afield in Geelong’s drought-breaking 2007 flag win and he is a three-time Cats premiership player.

    The 34-year-old also made three All-Australian teams and twice topped Geelong’s goalkicking charts.

    Johnson played 253 games for the Cats before joining GWS last season.

    © AAP 2017

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