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Bradley Ashley Johnson
The Smiling Assassin
18 July 1976 (age 46)
Place of birth
Hoppers Crossing, VIC (3029)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 18y 5d
Last game: 34y 62d
Height and weight
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Western Bulldogs; Australia
Western Bulldogs: 33, 6
State of origin
Best & fairest
Western Bulldogs 1999, 2002, 2006
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
AFL: 10,539th player to appear, 12th most games played, 46th most goals kickedWestern Bulldogs: 846th player to appear, 1st most games played, 2nd most goals kicked
Recruited from the Western Jets, Brad Johnson - a life-long Dogs' fan - debuted for Footscray in 1994, five days after his 18th birthday, and went on to become one of the game's genuine champions over an illustrious 17-season, 364-game career. Johnson became known as the "Smiling Assassin", a reflection of the fact that he almost always wore a grin, regardless of the state of a game, and his hard-as-nails approach to the footy.
His early playing days as a midfielder coincided with a period of sustained Bulldogs success (in relative terms) under coach Terry Wallace. Johnson was blessed with speed and, combined with a strong work ethic and ruthless determination to win the ball, this allowed him to become one of the elite players of his era. At the turn of the millennium, Johnson was recast in the role of a forward who occasionally rotated through the midfield. In the ensuing seasons, Johnson had an almost clockwork-like ability to return at least two or three goals per game, and proved to be able to win matches 'off his own boot', with many bags of five or more. He captained the Dogs from 2006 until his retirement in 2010, and took out the club's best and fairest honours in 1999, 2002 and 2006.
Like many champions of the game, Johnson was sadly unable to achieve football's pinnacle - a premiership - despite his side making five preliminary finals during his career. Along with Ted Whitten Snr, Charlie Sutton and Chris Grant, Johnson will be remembered as a true Bulldog legend. He was named All Australian on no less than six occasions, including as captain in 2006, a year in which he booted 74 goals and was runner-up to Brendan Fevola in the Coleman Medal. He was also a Victorian state-of-origin representative and played for Australia in the International Rules series against Ireland.
In 2012 Johnson became regular special comments commentator for Fox Footy.
Johnson was inducted to the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Author - Andrew Gigacz