Johnson thrives after a step back
Michael Johnson. Pic: Getty Images

Michael Johnson says the secret to his outstanding 2012 season for Fremantle is simply a case of knowing each week what his job is.

Johnson has been a revelation this year. He struggled last season despite being one of only three Dockers to play every game in an injury-plagued year for the club.

The 27-year-old played as a forward, defender and midfielder last year but new coach Ross Lyon sent him straight to the back line and left him there.

Johnson said 2012 had been his best season and he'd benefited from having a consistent position.

"In the past couple of years, I'd go into games not knowing where I'm playing," he said. "Sometimes it'd get changed the last meeting before the game.

"It's good that I can prepare for the whole week leading into the game and know who I'm playing on and do some homework. It's a lot easier. I'm enjoying it.

"I know I had an OK season in 2006 when we made the finals. I really wanted to get back into that form."

Johnson is likely to be joined in defence by Zac Dawson for Saturday's game against Melbourne after he trained freely yesterday. Dawson hasn't played since round 11 because of a knee injury.

Anthony Morabito, who missed last week's WAFL round because of concussion, also trained.

Johnson expected Antoni Grover would be available after being subbed out of the win over the Bulldogs because of a heavy knock.

Johnson said small forward Michael Walters was closing in on his first game for the year as he rebuilds his career.

Walters, banished to the WAFL after failing to meet fitness requirements, has shed a lot of weight and kicked 27 goals for Swan Districts. He was an emergency for Fremantle last week.

Johnson said Walters had won back the respect of his teammates by committing to being an AFL player.

"It's fantastic to see Michael go away and put his head down and work really hard at Swan Districts," Johnson said.

"He's playing really good football, he's finding the football and he's kicking goals.

"I know he'll be close to getting picked, if not this week then the week after."

Johnson yesterday promoted National Diabetes Week as part of his role as the club's Diabetes WA ambassador. His mother Diane and several relatives have diabetes, and the rate of diabetes among indigenous people is three times that of the non-indigenous population.

"Little things like getting out and doing a bit of exercise and trying to eat healthy could help it," Johnson said.

The West Australian

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