CARLTON great Wayne Johnston has tonight become the 22nd Blues representative in history to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Johnston, the four-time premiership player and three-time Victorian and All-Australian representative, this evening joined fellow inductees David Neitz, Terry Wallace, Mel Whinnen, Matthew Scarlett and Bernie Naylor in the Hall of Fame, in a ceremony held at Crown Palladium.
Ruthless in the pursuit of victory and widely regarded as one of the greatest ever finals players, Johnston also captained Carlton and earned two club best-and-fairest honours through the halcyon years of the 1970s and ‘80s.
Hailing from Wandin North in Melbourne’s outer-eastern suburbs, Johnston was recruited by VFA club Prahran as an 18-year-old in 1975, and by 1978 was invited to join pre-season training at Princes Park. ‘The Dominator’ was initially rejected for his perceived lack of will to pursue the elite level and was sent back to Prahran; yet had a burning desire to prove his doubters wrong.
Carlton took a chance on Johnston and gained his signature in 1979 – a season which would end in Premiership glory for both club and player. Wearing the No.7, Johnston’s determination and hunger for the contest quickly endeared him to many supporters nationwide - and in front of 112,000 fans in only his 20th VFL game, the first of the four Premiership medallions (1979, ’81, ’82 and ’87) would hang from his neck.
A 209-game player who contributed 283 career goals to the scoreline between 1979 and ’90, Johnston was inducted into Carlton’s Hall of Fame in 1991 and was by decade’s end named on a half-forward flank in the Club’s Team of the Century
Johnston’s former coach David Parkin perhaps put it best when he said of the rampageous midfielder: “‘He had an enormous capacity to pump himself up and get the best out of himself when it mattered. He had a fire in his belly – a passion for the contest like few other players."
Wayne Johnston in the aftermath of the Blues' 1987 VFL Grand Final triumph. (Photo: AFL Media)
CARLTON REPRESENTATIVES IN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Legends: Ron Barassi (Melbourne/Carlton), Alex Jesaulenko (Carlton/St Kilda) and John Nicholls
Players: Peter Bedford (South Melbourne/Carlton), Craig Bradley (Port Adelaide/Carlton), Horrie Clover, George Coulthard, Bruce Doull, Ken Hands, Ern Henfry (Perth, Carlton), Stephen Kernahan (Glenelg/Carlton), Anthony Koutoufides, Rod McGregor, Peter McKenna (Collingwood/Carlton), Stephen Silvagni, Geoff Southby, Harry Vallence, Robert Walls (Carlton/Fitzroy), Greg Williams (Geelong/Sydney/Carlton), Jack Worrall (Carlton/Essendon), Wayne Johnston
Coaches: David Parkin
Administrators: Sir Kenneth Luke