Classy midfielder Matthew Johnson said ‘relief’ was the overwhelming emotion as his name was called out with Fremantle’s first pick of the second night of the NAB AFL Draft.
The highly touted Johnson was considered to be one of the biggest ‘sliders’ after the completion of the first round on Wednesday night.
However, night two wrote a different story, selected by Freo with pick 21 – the Club’s third pick of the draft.
Despite the disappointment of not being selected on night one, Johnson found solace in some words of comfort offered by his new senior coach, Justin Longmuir.
“A lot of relief came out when I got my name read out and going to Freo is a dream come true, so I’m pretty excited,” Johnson said.
“I started doubting it a little bit, the longer it sort of dragged out, so to be able to have my name called out first cab off the rank tonight was pretty good
"Justin was very good, he was pretty positive and said ‘don’t worry too much, don’t get too stressed about it, it’s all going to work out fine’.
“It made me feel a little bit better about the situation and I was pretty lucky to have a lot of good people reach out and throw their arms around me with a bit of support.”
Johnson said he was thrilled to be remaining in WA, and will join former Subiaco teammate Neil Erasmus - Freo’s pick 10 - at the Club.
“Getting picked by Freo was unbelievable…one of the biggest positives to come out of it is being able to stay home and have my family and friends close by and keep that support around me,” Johnson said.
“Me and Neil are great mates, and Freo have a lot of young West Australian boys as well, which is exciting.”
The midfielder said he was excited to line up alongside some ‘icons of the game’ in Nat Fyfe and David Mundy, as well as learn off Freo’s young midfield crop including Andy Brayshaw and Caleb Serong.
“I think Freo are a young list and have a lot of players that are going to be stars,” Johnson said.
“Freo are definitely building toward something special in the future and to be a part of that is massive for me.”