Alex Johnston (rugby league)
|Born||14 January 1995|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||185 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||95 kg (14 st 13 lb)|
As of 10 November 2019
Alex Johnston (born 14 January 1995) is a professional rugby league footballer who plays as a fullback and winger for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. He has played for both Australia and Papua New Guinea at international level.
He played his junior rugby league for La Perouse United and attended Endeavour Sports High School (where he completed the HSC) before being signed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs. As a youngster, Johnston played for the New South Wales Under 16s and 18s teams and Australian Schoolboys team. In 2013, Johnston played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs' S. G. Ball Cup and NYC teams before moving on to the Rabbitohs' New South Wales Cup team, North Sydney Bears in 2014.
In round 8 of the 2014 NRL season, Johnston was selected to make his NRL debut for the South Sydney Rabbitohs over dumped Souths winger Nathan Merritt against the Brisbane Broncos on the wing, scoring a try in the 28-26 win at Suncorp Stadium on Anzac Day. He continued to perform on both the left and right wing throughout the year. At times, Johnston was referred to as the successor of Greg Inglis, for his ability to play fullback as well as wing. In round 21, Johnston scored his first ever hat-trick against the Newcastle Knights in the Rabbitohs 50-10 victory. On 5 October 2014, in Souths 2014 NRL Grand Final match against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Johnston played on the wing and scored the first try of the match to lead the South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-6 victory. Johnston finished his brilliant debut year in the NRL as being the competitions highest tryscorer of the 2014 NRL season with 21 tries in 18 matches. In September 2014, it was revealed that the Papua New Guinea national rugby league team were attempting to have Johnston pledge his allegiance to Papua New Guinea as his grandmother is from a village in Lumi, a place in the West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. On 14 October 2014, Johnston was selected for the Australia Kangaroos 2014 Four Nations squad but didn't make an appearance in any of Australia's four matches.
On 13 February 2015, Johnston played on the wing for the Indigenous All Stars against the NRL All Stars in the 2015 All Stars match at Cbus Super Stadium, the Indigenous side winning 20-6. On 23 February, he played for the Rabbitohs in the 2015 World Club Challenge match against 2014 Super League Grand Final premiers St. Helens, playing on the wing in the Rabbitohs' 39-0 win at Langtree Park. For the 2015 Anzac Test, he was selected to make his debut for Australia against New Zealand, playing on the wing in the Kangaroos' 12-26 loss at Suncorp Stadium. On 13 May, he re-signed with South Sydney on a 2-year contract to the end of the 2017 season. On 8 July, he was selected to be 18th man for the New South Wales team for Game 3 of the 2015 State of Origin series. He finished off the 2015 season as the Rabbitohs' highest try-scorer with 17 tries in 25 matches. On 26 September, he played for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea, playing on the wing and scoring a try in his team's 40-12 win at Port Moresby. On 15 December, he was named on the wing for the Indigenous All Stars team to play the World All Stars on 13 February 2016.
On 13 January, Johnston was named in the emerging New South Wales Blues squad. In February, he played for the Rabbitohs in the 2016 NRL Auckland Nines, scoring the opening try of the competition. He was selected on the wing and scored four tries in South Sydney's first three matches of the season before suffering a hamstring injury that saw him sit out for several weeks. In his return game in round 10 against the Parramatta Eels, he played in his preferred position at fullback in a 22-20 win. He was renamed in the fullback position in round 15, once again against the Eels. He was then moved back and forth as the club attempted to find a line-up that would win them. In round 23, Johnston played on the wing when the Rabbitohs broke their nine-game losing streak with a 41-22 win over the New Zealand Warriors. He played their for the next three final games which were all won by South Sydney. Johnston finished the 2016 season with 11 tries from 18 matches
In round 1 of the 2017 season, South Sydney fullback, Greg Inglis suffered what was deemed to be a season-ending injury to his ACL in the club's 18-34 defeat against the Wests Tigers. In round 2, Johnston was named at fullback for the club's clash with the Manly Sea Eagles. Johnston scored two tries in the position in his sides' 18-38 win at Brookvale Oval. On 14 June he re-signed with the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2020 season. On 2 July he scored 5 tries against the Penrith Panthers to be the first Rabbitohs player since Nathan Merritt in 2011 to achieve 5 tries in a match. In round 21, Alex Johnston was switched back to fullback after poor performances by Souths who were on a three game losing streak. He scored an amazing try in the Rabbitohs' 32 - 18 loss against the Raiders. He then went on to score 6 tries in his next 3 games and was the leading try scorer with 2 rounds to go. However, against the New Zealand Warriors in round 24, Johnston injured his hamstring as he was scoring a try in the 36 - 18 win. He was ruled out for the rest of the season, with the Rabbitohs losing their last 2 matches. Johnston finished season 2017 with him playing 22 matches and scoring 22 tries, the second highest tryscorer that year.
Johnston was part of the South Sydney side which returned to form in 2018 finishing 3rd on the table at the end of the regular season. Johnston made 24 appearances for Souths scoring 8 tries as the club finished one game short of the grand final losing to Eastern Suburbs 12-4.
Johnston began the 2019 NRL season as South Sydney's first choice fullback. South Sydney started the year off winning 8 of their first 9 games. Following Souths 19-18 loss against Penrith in round 14, Johnston was ruled out with a knee injury. In round 24, Johnston returned to the Souths side and scored a try as they defeated the New Zealand Warriors 31-10 at Mt. Smart Stadium.
At the end of the 2019 regular season, Souths finished third on the table and qualified for the finals. Johnston scored a try in the club's 34-26 victory over Manly-Warringah in the semi-final at ANZ Stadium. The following week, Johnston played in South Sydney's preliminary final loss against the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium.
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- "Rabbitohs Star Alex Johnston PNG's No.1 Target | Triple M NRL". Triplem.com.au. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Michael Carayannis. "South Sydney Rabbitohs Dylan Walker and Alex Johnston selected for Kangaroos". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
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- "Extend Contracts of Alex Johnston and Cameron McInnes Until End of 2017". Rabbitohs.com.au. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- Michael Carayannis. "South Sydney Rabbitohs re-sign Alex Johnston and Cameron McInnes". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Michael Carayannis. "State of Origin: South Sydney duo Alex Johnston and Dylan Walker on verge of NSW call up for Origin II". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
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- "Custom Match List". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
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- "Canberra Raiders end 25-year wait to reach NRL grand final with victory over Rabbitohs". The Guardian.