Rugby League

South Sydney winger Alex Johnston hoping to regain 2014 form for Rabbitohs

Alex Johnston is seeking to regain the form that saw him top the try-scoring list in 2014 on the way to helping breaking South Sydney's 43-year premiership drought.

The 21-year-old, who scored 21 tries in 2014 after having made his debut in round eight, has now racked up 38 tries in 43 games for the Rabbitohs.

Ready to roll: South Sydney winger Alex Johnston watches as teammate Jason Clarke is fitted for a mouthguard.
Ready to roll: South Sydney winger Alex Johnston watches as teammate Jason Clarke is fitted for a mouthguard. Photo: Ewdina Pickles

Johnston could not hit the same heights in 2015, with the Rabbitohs failing to handle the added pressure of a title defence, although he managed to make his debut for Australia in the ANZAC Test  loss to New Zealand.

His rise to the top from obscurity has left the winger baffled himself, describing the past two years as "surreal".

"The whole experience has been very surreal. Playing first grade is something you just dream of and to come in and make my debut in the first place was just unreal for me, and then to go on and win in 2014 was just something unbelievably lucky," Johnston said.

"To now have also put on the Australian jersey, I'm just pinching myself, it's unbelievable. But you know that stuff is in the past and I've got to just look forward and continue to play good footy and to hopefully get those honours again."


Johnston has already set his eyes on a clear goal this season - to play for NSW in the State of Origin series.

The Indigenous All Stars flyer was bluntly told by Blues coach Laurie Daley last year to "toughen up" in order to be considered for selection, but now has a promising chance of making a debut after being selected for Daley's 2016 Emerging Blues camp on Wednesday.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Johnston said that pre-season had been the "best since I've been here" and that he was ready to focus on himself this season to play the "best footy" to play himself into Origin contention.

Johnston has also been the subject of a series of high-profile approaches by other clubs offering him a chance to play in his favoured fullback position, a spot owned by Greg Inglis at the Rabbitohs.

The star winger, who eventually re-signed a two-year contract extension, was quick to accept his spot in the pecking order.

"Fullback is definitely where I'm looking to end up. It is my favourite position, but it's more about timing as well and I'm happy to bide my time to get my spot at fullback," Johnston said.

"Personally I've got to keep performing and if I put my best foot forward, who knows what will happen? That's up to the coaches."