Western Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen played the game of his life to win the Norm Smith Medal
Photo Source: AAP
Western Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen was left feeling numb after his roller coaster AFL season ended with a Norm Smith Medal hanging around his neck.
The 23-year-old collected 33 possessions and went inside the attacking 50 nine times in a performance that was pivotal to the Dogs' drought-breaking 22-point grand final win over Sydney.
"I just went numb really. I just couldn't believe it," Johannisen said of the moment his name was read out in euphoric scenes after the final siren.
"As a kid you just dream of playing in a grand final and winning it so this will be a special moment I'll look back on.
"The club took a massive gamble on me as a young kid, they saw a bit of potential. Just to play my first game was a dream come true ... I'm just grateful for the opportunity that this great club has given me."
Johannisen was important early when the heat was right on in the contest and his influence rarely waned, his line-breaking speed vital in combating the Swans' vaunted pressure.
It's worth remembering that his entire season hung in the balance when he suffered a serious hamstring injury in round four.
Initially it was feared he had ripped his hamstring from the bone but scans showed he would not even require surgery.
Even so, he didn't return to the team until round 15, his season culminating in a stunning grand final performance.
"To see all the other players who have won this award ... I'm just really honoured - I can't believe it," he said.
"It's been a special ride ... an amazing journey. I think we've played our best footy in the last four weeks - it's good that when it counted we stepped up.
"It's been a long time for the fans but we're writing our own history with this group now."