Albert Johnston (rugby league)

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Albert Johnston
Ricketty Johnston 1921.jpg
Personal information
Full name Albert Victor Johnston
Nickname Ricketty
Born (1891-05-10)10 May 1891
Balmain, New South Wales
Died 15 May 1961(1961-05-15) (aged 70)
Carlton, New South Wales
Playing information
Position Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1912–17 Balmain 78 6 0 0 18
1919–20 Newtown 22 3 0 0 9
1921–22 St. George 9 0 0 0 0
Total 109 9 0 0 27
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1913–22 New South Wales 6 2 0 0 6
1919–22 Australia 8 2 0 0 6
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1923,25–26 Newtown 51 16 31
1924 Western Suburbs 8 4 50
1933–35 St George 50 27 0 54
Total 109 47 0 0 43
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1939–46 New South Wales
1946 Australia 3 0 1 2 0
Source: [1][2]

Albert "Ricketty" Johnston (1891–1961) was a pioneering Australian rugby league footballer and coach of the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. He was a three-quarter for the Australian national team and played in eight Tests between 1919 and 1922, two as captain.

Playing career[edit]

Club career[edit]

He was born and grew up in Balmain, Sydney and started playing rugby league at a junior level when the game commenced in Australia in 1908. In 1911 he made his first grade debut with the Balmain Tigers at half-back. Following Arthur Halloway's move to the Tigers in 1915, Johnston moved to five-eighth and their strong halves partnership was one of factors enabling Balmain to three consecutive premiership titles from 1915 to 1917.

He joined Wests for the 1918 season, then spent two years as captain-coach at Newtown 1919-20.

Following his Australian representative appearances in 1920 the admission of the St George Dragons meant that Johnston being a local resident had to play with the club, which he did for his final two club seasons of 1921 and 1922.

Representative career[edit]

In 1912 he was selected in a Sydney Metropolis side. In 1913 he was in a New South Wales touring squad to New Zealand as half-back but was kept out of the major matches by the form of his peer Arthur Halloway.

He captained New South Wales in some 1918 games and then made his Australian Test debut in 1919 on Australia's tour of New Zealand. He scored a try on debut assisting Australia to a 44-21 victory. With tour captain Halloway unfit for the 3rd Test Johnston led the side to a series victory in Auckland in the process becoming Australia's 11th Kangaroo captain.

In 1920 Johnston was chosen for the first Test of the domestic Ashes series. He captained the side to an 8-4 victory over England. Herb Gilbert took over as captain for the 2nd and 3rd Tests but Johnston's continued successful halves pairing with Queenslander Duncan Thompson set a platform for the talented backline featuring Harold Horder, Dick Vest and Gilbert and Australia won the series and the Ashes for the first time on home soil.

Johnston did not captain Australia again. He appeared for New South Wales through till 1922 and toured with the 1921-22 Kangaroos playing in the 1st Test and in 11 tour matches.

Coaching career[edit]

Johnston coached Newtown in 1923, 1925 and 1926 and Wests in 1924.

He coached St George in 1933-35 taking the club to their first premiership final.


He was awarded Life Membership of the New South Wales Rugby League in 1938.[3]

He was a state selector from 1938 and state coach from 1939 to 1946. He was a national selector in 1946 and coach of the national side for the 1946 first post-WWII Anglo-Australian series.[4]


  1. ^ Rugby League Project
  2. ^ Yesterday's Hero
  3. ^ Referee, Sydney. 15 Dec 1938. (page 23)
  4. ^ The Courier Mail, Brisbane. "Ricketty Johnson to coach Australian Team." 5 April 1946.

Sources & Footnotes[edit]

  • Whiticker, Alan (2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney
Preceded by
Arthur Halloway
Australian national rugby league captain
Succeeded by
Herb Gilbert