Where are they now: Dallas Johnson
Eight years after he last pulled on the purple jersey, one of Melbourne Storm’s favourite sons remains very close to home.
Dallas Johnson lives in Richmond these days, just two kilometres from AAMI Park, the precinct he called home between 2003-2009.
The 34-year-old now runs his own business, placing ATMs in pubs and clubs around Australia.
It is a profession that gives him the choice of living anywhere in the country but Melbourne is the city he has chosen to call home.
“We’ve obviously spent a lot of time down here when I was playing for the Club, Melbourne is just one of those places,” Johnson said.
“It has got so much to offer, there are endless things you can do, there is something on every weekend.
“I’ve become a bit of a food snob, wine snob and coffee snob so this is the perfect place for that.”
The fearless former lock retired with North Queensland in 2013 and spent the first year of retirement working in the Cowboys’ commercial department.
In that role he proved to be a jack of all trades, dabbling in corporate sales, sponsorship and even some defensive coaching.
He was also in the process of starting up his own ATM business for good measure.
Normal working life was not entirely foreign to Johnson, who had completed three years of a plumbing apprenticeship before coming to Melbourne in 2003.
He is at pains to stress though that he is far from a handyman these days.
Johnson is grateful his transition to the real world was a smooth one but admits the adjustment is not an easy one for players to make.
“It is a big adjustment, you spend 15 years of your life around 30 blokes every day, day in and day out,” Johnson said.
“Once you cross over into the real world it is a massive change to your life.
“I was fortunate that I was still involved once I crossed over and I had worked previously. I think it is probably harder for guys who start playing footy straight out of school.”
His career culminated in 250 NRL games across 11 seasons – far longer than the average career will span.
But Johnson can hardly believe how quickly his career came and went.
“It is amazing how bloody quick your career goes. It is eight years ago now, it goes quick.” he said.
“I think anyone who has been involved with the Storm would have very fond memories. We obviously had a lot of success in the period I was here.
“We all came through when Bellyache (Craig Bellamy) first came in and we played in four straight grand finals.
“I am a life member of the Club and will always be very passionate about the Club, I want to see it succeed.”
It may be closing in on a decade since Dallas Johnson last represented Storm but his purple pride still resonates to this very day.