Farewell games for JJ; Johns axed

By David Reed 2:25 PM Fri 15 August, 2008

Courtney Johns against Collingwood on Anzac Day

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ESSENDON has axed injury-cursed forward Courtney Johns, but will reward club stalwart Jason Johnson with two final farewell games in rounds 21 and 22.

"Jason Johnson will play for Bendigo this week but will basically, virtually come into the team next week and will get to play the final two games with the Essendon Football Club – and it should be a celebration," coach Matthew Knights said on Friday.

Knights said the send-off was a reward for how much of a "warrior" Johnson had been at Windy Hill.

Injury permitting, Johnson's last two games will be against the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda, both at Telstra Dome.

The 30-year-old won two best and fairest awards for Essendon, was a member of the Bombers' 2000 premiership side and was selected in the 2003 All-Australian side.

However, injury has restricted him to just two senior games in 2008 for a career total of 182.

Knights also confirmed that Johns would be cut from the Essendon list at the end of the season.

"We sat down a couple of weeks ago and discussed Courtney's future and I basically said, in the best way possible, that Courtney wouldn't be with us next year," he said.

"He obviously took it tough but those decisions have to be made and hard decisions have to be made at times.

"It was a tough decision because Courtney is a terrific young man and I have enjoyed coaching him at Bendigo and Essendon. It was just one of those things that happened and Courtney is moving on with it.

"It is never pleasant as a coach to sit down with young men because you know how much they love the game. And it is not personal, it is to do with their football, and that is what's happened with Courtney."
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