DOB: 17 July 1980
From: Chelsea/Dandenong Stingrays U18, Selection #1, 1997 National Draft
Number: 16 (1998-2007)
Games: 160 (209 total)
Goals: 111 (135 total)
The grandson of former Fitzroy player Norm Johnstone had been selected in the All-Australian Under 16 and 18 sides before being taken with the first pick in the 1997 National Draft. After 13 games in a promising debut season, his form fell away and he spent part of 1999 in the Reserves.
Johnstone struggled with groin issues during 2000, and was often used as a burst player off the bench. A hamstring injury early in the year cost him eight weeks but he returned for the finals. At the end of that season, Johnstone signed a two year contract extension but surgery on his groin meant that he missed the first two months of the 2001 pre-season. After criticism for not living up to expectations as a top draft pick, Johnstone had a career best year in 2002. Helped by his first full pre-season, he finished fourth in the Brownlow Medal and played the game of his career to date in the losing Semi Final against Adelaide.
In comparison, 2003 was a disappointment. He battled hamstring injuries, was dropped to Sandringham more than once, and in July was revealed to owe $15,000 to a bookmaker. He returned to play another 16 games in 2004 but later revealed he was close to walking out on the club at the end of that year. Instead, he rejected a move to Sydney and took a 20% pay cut to sign a new two year contract.
After two disappointing seasons, 2005 was one of Johnstone's best, winning the Best and Fairest in a finals year. He played every game of 2006 but fell to 10th in the Best and Fairest. At the end of 2007, Johnstone was traded to the Brisbane Lions in exchange for selection 14 in the 2007 National Draft, ultimately used to recruit Jack Grimes. He played 49 games for hte Lions before being delisted at the end of 2010.
Johnstone later played in the Northern Territory for Palmerston, and in 2012 for Chelsea Heights.
|Round 21, 1999||Melee||$2000 fine|
|Round 21, 2000||Melee||$2500 fine|
|Round 2, 2004||Abusive Language||$1200 fine|
|Round 8, 2005||Melee||$1500 fine|
|Round 6, 2007||Abusive language||$900 fine|