Regaining his spot in the leadership group had always been an underlying ambition for Michael Johnson, who attributed his 2016 selection to the trust he’d gained through his improved work ethic and seasoned football experience.
“It shows they believe in me and trust me on and off the field,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to make sure my performance and the off-field stuff was going in the right direction.
“Being 31, having a lot of experience game wise and being around an AFL club and the system for a long time leans in my favour.”
Introducting your 2016 leaders
Johnson acknowledged the importance of his leadership amongst his Indigenous teammates, many of who voted for him in the leadership group selection.
“Most of my votes did come from those guys, it’s good to see the brothers look after me a bit,” Johnson admitted.
“I’ve led the boys ever since all the players I looked up to left the club.
“As long as I be myself and keep driving those guys along to perform well and be part of the group, that’s all they need.”
Hill thrilled with Freo's Indigenous culture
Johnson endorsed David Mundy as new Fremantle captain, and said he would emphasise accountability and not hesitate to say what needs to be said.
“Game day is me just voicing my opinion, being demanding on my teammates and playing my role for the team,” Johnson said.
“He’s (Mundy) demanding on a lot of players and I’ve copped it many times.
“He stands up on big games and performs for the team, and I’ve seen the growth in David since we got drafted in 2004.”
David Mundy and Michael Johnson celebrate a win during their first AFL season in 2005.