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Vale Percy

Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 10:06 AM

Western Australian Football has lost one of it’s true greats today, as Percy Johnson lost his fight with cancer in Fremantle Hospital this morning.

Percy’s exploits as a player across 228 games are widely recognised, but it his coaching where he always held an exceptional ability to influence others.

Percy has mentored young men for well over 50 years at every level. He held senior coaching roles at three WAFL clubs totalling 73 games but was just as happy to contribute at Aquinas College, La Salle College, Clontarf Academies, Curtin Wesley University, and the many ruck specific coaching roles he held over the years, most notably at the Fremantle Dockers, Perth Footbal Club, and most recently at Claremont and Swan Districts.

Percy has deep seated roots in our Swan Districts community. He raised a family in Frederic St, Midland whilst operating the local pharmacy. He had a reputation for helping everyone, especially the battler. He treated the richest and the poorest with the same respect.

His ability to relate to all walks have life underpinned his coaching style for over half a century, and was a major part of his success. The way he communicated with Jeff White, was the same as how he spoke to a gangly kid from Bunbury like Nathan Blakely, and if you were a big man in his stable they loved him dearly, and respected him completely.

Percy was fiercely loyal to his charges and would defend them to the death. He always had an opinion, and certainly wasn’t afraid to voice it to get his point across. He called small men “rabbits” and the only way a rabbit could succeed was due to his tall men. “Little men win medals, big men win premierships” was his go to quote if some poor coach or supporter was silly enough to mention a midfielder in the best players.

His knowledge of the game will rarely be matched again, and we are certain his ability to coach emerging ruckman will never be equalled.

Percy provided support to the Swan Districts playing group to the very end. He was a unique individual, who will be sorely missed by everyone at the club and the wider WAFL community. There will never be another Percy Johnson.

Swan Districts sends our deepest condolences to Percy’s children, grandchildren and extended family.