THEY were two of Geelong’s superstars during the club’s golden flag era.
But elusive forwards Steve Johnson and Paul Chapman often clashed both on and off the field during the early stages of their careers.
Johnson has opened up on the pair’s testy relationship, which came to a flashpoint during a feisty training session.
In his new book, Stevie J: The Cat with the Giant Story, Johnson says the pair were “never great mates” and details a pre-season day in 2009 where the two came to blows at Cats training.
“He tackled me to the ground in a training drill. He went too far. He really drove me into the ground and was holding onto me,” Johnson wrote.
“I decided enough was enough. I landed a punch on him while we were on the ground. Then I hit him two more times after we stood up, before all the boys came charging in and separated us.”
Johnson writes that the tension between the two Cats champions, who won three premierships together, stemmed from Chapman’s belief that Johnson was a “selfish player”.
“He had convinced himself I was selfish and he seemed a bit obsessed about it,” Johnson wrote.
“If he was in a good position but I didn’t give him the ball, he’d react with fury.
“‘You f***ing selfish c***’ was a phrase he directed my way on many occasions.
“He did this right throughout our glory years and I felt that I was one of the most unselfish players on our team during those years.”
After a meeting with Cameron Ling in 2010, Johnson said he and Chapman’s relationship improved before they left for the Giants and Bombers respectively.
“Our relationship was much better during the remainder of our careers at Geelong,” Johnson wrote.