|Name||Robert B Johnson|
|WAFL Clubs||East Fremantle|
The son of Robert C. Johnson, 'Big Bob' was one of the real characters of 1950s and 1960s football in both Victoria and Western Australia. He was also, at 198cm in height, one of the tallest footballers of his time.
Johnson made his VFL debut with Melbourne as a nineteen year old, in 1954, and went on to play a total of 159 games and boot 228 goals for the club over the course of the next nine seasons. Lanky in build, he was hard to beat in ruck contests as he seemed so readily able to get his angular frame into optimum position against even the strongest of opponents. He was also extremely dangerous near goal when resting on the forward line with the Demons often using him as their principal goal kicking option, leaving full forward Athol Webb to act as a decoy. Bob Johnson played in a total of seven VFL grand finals for flags in 1955-6-7, 1959 and 1960. He often enraged opposition supporters with his often surprisingly effective penchant for 'staging' for free kicks.
In 1962 he was appointed captain-coach of East Fremantle where he enjoyed considerable success, both individual and team-based, over the next five seasons, with the highlight being a premiership in 1965. He played much of his football with Old Easts at full forward, topping the club's goal kicking list on four occasions, and the league's, with 92 goals (including finals) in 1966. He also topped the century with 105 goals in 1965, and won the club's fairest and best award in his debut season.
Johnson moved to Allan Killigrew's Subiaco in 1967 where he added 19 games to the 106 he had played with East Fremantle. He later enjoyed success as captain-coach of Oakleigh, steering the Devils to a 1st division VFA premiership in 1972 when aged thirty-seven. Four years later, during his second coaching stint at the club, he experienced the reverse side of the ledger as the team was relegated.
Author - John Devaney
Full Points Footy's WA Football Companion