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Bob 'Tassie' Johnson
2 December 1937
29 October 2015 (aged 77)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 21y 137d
Last game: 31y 271d
Height and weight
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 89 kg
North Launceston; Melbourne
North Launceston (1959)
State of origin
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
AFL: 6,991st player to appear, 606th most games played, 3,641st most goals kickedMelbourne: 783rd player to appear, 26th most games played, 299th most goals kicked
After two seasons in the NTFA with North Launceston, where he played mostly as a forward, Bob Johnson was forced to stand out of football for the whole of 1958 while seeking a clearance to VFL club Melbourne. Once the clearance formalities were out of the way Johnson was swiftly re-moulded by the Demons into one of the VFL’s top defenders. At full back in Melbourne’s 1959 and 1960 premiership teams, ‘Tassie’ (as he was called to distinguish him from the other two Johnsons at the club, ‘Big Bob’ and Trevor) had moved to the back pocket by the time of the 1964 flag win. His coolness under pressure, strength, good judgement and superb drop kicking made him equally successful in either position.
A regular VFL representative between 1960 and 1967, Johnson showed his versatility later in his career when, with Melbourne’s fortunes in decline, he embarked on frequent stints on the ball or in the forward lines in bids to lift his teammates by example. In his final VFL season, 1969, this inspirational quality to his play was formally recognised when he was appointed club captain, only for the Demons to suffer the rare indignity of a wooden spoon, their first since 1951. ‘Tassie’ Johnson’s VFL career thus came to a somewhat ignominious end, but he had accomplished more than enough in earlier seasons to be remembered with affection and esteem as one of Tasmanian football’s greatest exports.
Johnson ended his playing career as captain-coach of VFA 2nd division side Box Hill in 1971.
In 2004 he was selected at full back in the official Tasmanian 'Team of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney