GIANT'S GRAND FINAL WISH
By ADAM HICKS
YOU have to lose four before you can win one. That's not exactly how the grand final cliche goes, but Mullumbimby's Troy Johnstone is hoping that will be the moral of his finals football story when he runs out against the Ballina Seagulls in tomorrow's first grade Retravision Northern League decider tomorrrow.
"The way I look at is, geez, you've got to get one eventually," he said.
The 32-year-old Giants' halfback was this week contemplating one last shot at a title ahead of possible retirement.
"I lost two with Ballina, one with Byron and one in Brisbane with Easts," he said. "It's very tough to take. It doesn't get easier with each loss. You put in a lot of effort each year ... they're all pretty bad."
Johnstone said he wasn't worried that the monkey on his back had morphed into a full-grown, silverback gorilla.
"I haven't even really spoken about it, but there's no extra pressure," he said.
"Grand finals are always hard games, but if we just look after our own backyard, we should go alright."
He said the Giants had been concentrating on ball security in their own half after they squandered a 10-point lead to the Seagulls in their major semi-final loss two weeks ago.
Tomorrow's game will also give Johnstone a chance to notch a win over his old club after he missed the major semi-final with injury.
"I wouldn't call it a grudge match, but it's going to be a hard game," he said. "They'll be out to play well and it's always good to go back to your old home ground. You want to play well."
A win on Sunday would cap Johnstone's career with a fairytale end.
"I don't know yet if I'll play on next year," he said. "The result might have an impact on my decision.
Every footballer wants to go out on a winning note. "I'll come to the end of the year and see what happens. I might get itchy feet."