Johnson aims to be in tall trio

18 December 2017 16:42:30 GMTPlus11

Veteran Michael Johnson feels he can play as part of a three-man tall defender unit for Fremantle next season.

It's likely to be the 33-year-old's last season in the sport, and he needs 19 more appearances to reach the 250-game mark before hanging up his boots.

To do so Johnson will need not only to avoid injury - something he failed to do in both 2015 and 2016 - but also show the Dockers can play with three tall defenders should Alex Pearce make a successful return from a long-term injury lay-off.

He's adamant he, Pearce and Joel Hamling could combine as an effective trio.

"In the past we've done it with Luke McPharlin, Zac Dawson and myself; the game's the same," said Johnson. "These two bring different strengths and weaknesses, so we all can feed off each other and make each other stronger.

"There will be times where we will match up against teams that have got less talls, but back in the day we made it happen. So whatever the opposition gives to us, we'll make sure we do our job."

Johnson played every game last season, finished seventh in the Dockers' best and fairest count and earned himself a new one-year deal.

But he admits it is tough going as he builds up to the round one date with Port Adelaide on 24th March.

"I'm getting older these days, so it's all about getting me through a gruelling pre-season and getting ready for the season ahead. We'll take one step at a time," he added.

If Johnson can reach the 250-games mark for the club it would place him in illustrious company, alongside retired legend Matthew Pavlich (353 games) and current veterans David Mundy (272) and Aaron Sandilands (254).

Fremantle are 50/1 to win the 2018 Grand Final, while the Dockers are 3/1 to finish in the top eight.

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