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AFL fans rally around Steve Johnson after scary incident for Geelong premiership hero

The news about the Geelong Cats champion has sparked a flood of messages.

Steve Johnson, pictured here with his family.
Steve Johnson played 293 AFL games for Geelong and GWS and won three premierships. Image: Getty

AFL fans are sending their well-wishes to Geelong champion Steve Johnson, who is lucky to be alive after a "freak accident" at his home. The 40-year-old was rushed to hospital on Monday night after he suffered a “deep wound to the stomach” when a knife he was carrying in a bag accidentally pierced him while he was opening a gate.

The accident occurred on his property in Wangaratta in north-east Victoria, with a neighbour (who is a nurse) coming to his aid. The neighbour tended to Johnson and had the foresight to call ahead to Wangaratta hospital to let them know he was coming.

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The 293-game player underwent emergency surgery and was still in hospital as of Wednesday. The Norm Smith medallist (for best on ground in an AFL grand final) posted a photo of his wounds on social media, writing: "Not ideal...thanks for the messages of support. Another day, another surgery." He is expected to make a full recovery despite the injury being potentially life-threatening.

Steve Johnson, pictured here walking out for his 250th game in 2015.
Steve Johnson walks out for his 250th game in 2015. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Johnson played 293 games across his AFL career with the Geelong Cats and GWS Giants. He played 253 with the Cats and helped the club win grand finals in 2007, 2009 and 2011 - winning the Norm Smith in 2007. In 2011 he overcame the odds to play in the decider despite suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury the week before in the preliminary final.

He finished up his playing career in 2017 after two seasons and 40 games with GWS. He helped the Giants make preliminary finals in both seasons, but missed the 2016 prelim due to suspension. He has since held assistant coaching roles at the Giants and Sydney Swans.

AFL world rallies around Steve Johnson after accident

In 2022 he was appointed head coach of the Yarrawonga Pigeons in the Ovens and Murray Football League, leading them to the flag in just his second season in charge. The club joined many in sending messages of support to Johnson on Tuesday.

“The YFNC (Yarrawomga Football Netball Club) would like to wish our Senior Coach, Steve Johnson, a quick and full recovery from his accident on Monday night,” a statement read. "As you may be aware Steve suffered a nasty stomach wound in a freak accident. He has been treated at the Wangaratta Hospital and like all things, time will heal. Our thoughts go out to Steve and (wife) Erin and their extended families.”

Johnson was named to the AFL's All-Australian team in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He was also Geelong's leading goal-scorer in 2008 and 2010.

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