Former Essendon star Jason Johnson admits he finds it hard to believe he played in the club’s last finals win.
The Bombers are one of the AFL’s most successful clubs, winning a league-high 16 premierships, but remarkably haven’t won a final since 2004.
That drought won’t end this season, either, with the Bombers languishing down the ladder.
“I probably find it a little bit hard to believe,” Johnson told 3AW’s Footy: Then and Now podcast.
“It hasn’t been a great 18 years, I suppose.
“I think there are some signs showing.
“I think we are still a fair way away from it.
“I think we could probably be a little bit more ruthless and tougher, but it’s a little bit of a different game now.”
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Essendon’s season was all-but-over at the midway point this year, with the Bombers winning just two of their first 12 games.
Johnson said he was “proud” the club didn’t make wholesale changes, amid huge public pressure on coach Ben Rutten.
“They could have done some drastic things,” he said.
Johnson remains optimistic the Bombers will end that finals hoodoo soon.
“We’ve got a talented list now, so it’s probably time that they almost start repaying, I guess, some of the investment that’s been put into them by the club over the last five or six years post the (drugs) saga,” he said.
Johnson joined the podcast to discuss the greatest comeback of all-time.
He polled three Brownlow votes as Essendon fought back from a record 69 points down to topple North Melbourne at the MCG in 2001.
“We were caught on our heels a little bit and a bit shell-shocked when we got in at quarter-time,” he said.
“The message was all about just getting back in the game.
“We were 10 goals down, but we wanted to see if we could get it back to five or six at half-time.
“That was sort of the goal.
“It was going back to our strengths and basics and chipping away at it.
“I personally didn’t think we were out of the game and I don’t think any of my teammates did and the coaches thought we could get it back with three quarters to go.”
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