- from afl.com.au
GREATER Western Sydney Leon Cameron has refused to put a line through veteran forward Steve Johnson for the club's upcoming finals series.
Johnson, 34, returning from a week on the sidelines as part of the ongoing management of his knee, had no impact in the Giants' 44-point loss to former side Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Saturday, gathering just eight disposals and failing to hit the scoreboard.
The loss means the Giants will travel back to Victoria for a return clash against the Cats or they may have to venture to Adelaide, if Richmond defeats St Kilda on Sunday.
Asked whether Johnson's 291-game career could be over, Cameron backed the veteran forward, who will retire at season's end, to play some part in the club's push for a maiden premiership.
"I wouldn't say that, absolutely not," Cameron said in response to a question asking whether Johnson was done.
"It's like saying is it over for one of our players for the finals series because he plays poorly tonight, absolutely not.
"Our entire squad will put their hand up, who's not injured, and he'll be one of them.
"I'll look at that and look at who we're playing and who suits what opposition every game we play. Hopefully we're playing at least three of them (finals)."
Cameron said it was difficult for Johnson to live up to the high standards he produced while at Geelong with his body failing him.
"It's been a challenge all year with his body and in particular his knee," Cameron said.
"He'll be disappointed after the game. He's not on his own – there's 16 or 17 others who lost their positions.
"You just can't win a game of footy when you have 16 or 17 losing their position.
"The scoreboard tells the story – he's not on his own but a lot of guys will be waking up tomorrow, going, 'I could have been better at this or I could have been better at that'."
Pleasingly, Cameron said star forward Toby Greene had pulled up fine after copping a knee to the ribs in the first quarter.
Cameron said his side was blown away in the third quarter with the Cats booting six goals to one to take a 40-point lead into three-quarter time.
"The third quarter we were really, really disappointed in. We were smashed in contested ball (38-26) for the quarter and that's where the game was split open," Cameron said.
"When they had their opportunities they made us pay. Our defence all over the ground wasn't great and to lose contested ball by 25 (147-122) is an absolute smacking."
Cameron said his side lost a big opportunity in regard to not travelling in the first week of the finals.
"We've earned the right to be in the top four and that's what we've done. We finished the home and away rounds the way we started it, we got smacked by Adelaide (by 56 points in round one) and we got smacked by Geelong," Cameron said.
"Is it disappointing the way we went down tonight? Absolutely and we don't get to host that first week of the finals – that's disappointing. But credit to Geelong, they thoroughly deserve it.
"We await our fate and who we play … but we've been up around that top five or six for most of the year.
"Now the fun starts. We've got to get over this and lick our wounds because if you worry about it too much we'll be left behind."
If the Giants are to face Geelong in a qualifying final, there will be plenty of debate about whether the match should be staged at the MCG or back down at Simonds Stadium.
"Going on tonight's result, I'll say the MCG," Cameron said.
"They've earned the right to play wherever the AFL thinks it's the right spot to play.
"If we've got to play them here, we'll play them here."