RETIRING champion Steve Johnson has been backed to have an immediate impact as a coach as Greater Western Sydney fights to keep the star forward as a member of Leon Cameron's panel next year.
Johnson, who announced his retirement on Thursday, will be hot property in the coaching market after fielding three offers to return to Melbourne at the end of last season.
The GWS star and Geelong great has an offer in front of him from the Giants, and has been linked to Sydney since announcing he would finish up at the end of the season.
Hall of Fame legend and coaching mentor David Parkin said wherever Johnson landed he would make an immediate impact, having committed himself to a future in coaching.
"I've spent enough time with him now to know that's a commitment he made two or three years ago when playing football was still his major focus," Parkin told AFL.com.au.
"He got his head into that space and was doing something about it.
"I've had a bit to do with him, because he came and did the Level Two coaching course and we started to share a bit of coaching information.
"We've shared a number of conversations and a number of articles and books and things that he's been fascinated to follow up."
Alongside Sam Mitchell, who will form part of Adam Simpson's panel at West Coast next season, Johnson is the most sought-after coaching mind in playing ranks.
He travelled to Melbourne at the end of last season to interview with a number of clubs on coaching positions, with Richmond understood to be one of them.
The Norm Smith medallist was presented with two firm offers to start coaching in 2017, while a third club wanted to secure Johnson as a coach at a later date.
"He was definitely wanted by three clubs and he is committed to wanting to go down that path," Johnson's manager Craig Kelly told AFL.com.au earlier this season.
Johnson has a personality suited to coaching and the ability to build strong relationships, which Parkin said was crucial to the modern coach. He also has a fierce desire to learn.
The challenge for Johnson would be in teaching and empathising with the players who do not fit into the same category as the freakishly skilled forward.
There is some evidence, however, that he will be able to teach players his mercurial skills after he introduced and taught others the around-the-body set shot at Geelong.
"He worked at that, developed a technique, and then was able to teach it to his teammates who led the way in being able to make conversions from what very few people in the game thought was an acceptable mode of scoring," Parkin said.
"He delivered that to the game and it's been adopted across the competition … that's a clear indication of what he has to give."