Rabbitohs Premiership winning winger, Alex Johnston, wasn’t expecting a call yesterday (Tuesday) – especially not one to say that he had made Tim Sheens’ Four Nations Kangaroos squad.
Johnston was asleep when he got the phone-call informing him that he had earned the right to be a part of Sheens’ 24 man Kangaroos squad, alongside Rabbitohs teammates Dylan Walker and Greg Inglis.
“Mark Ellison and Madge rang me together to tell me the news – I was in bed,” laughed Johnston, still pinching himself after his selection.
“I was half asleep when they called, but that changed pretty quickly when they gave me the news. Nobody else was home but I was so excited that I went around ringing my whole family in like 20 minutes to tell them the news.”
Johnston started the season in the Rabbitohs Holden Cup side, before quickly progressing through the NSW Cup competition to make his NRL debut in a round eight blockbuster against the Broncos on ANZAC Day – scoring a try on debut.
In just 18 appearances, the Rabbitohs’ speedster became the Clubs’ top try-scorer with 21 to his name (eight more than any other Rabbitoh) for a personal first season haul of 84 points.
In a season of many highlights for the La Perouse product, Johnston managed a hat-trick of four-pointers against the Newcastle Knights in round 21 in Cairns, before having the honour of becoming the first Rabbitoh to score a try in a Grand Final in 43 years.
The South Sydney Junior averaged 104.4 metres per match with the ball in hand, made 35 tackle breaks, 21 line breaks, six offloads and two try-assists – justifiably being named the 2014 John Sattler Rookie of the Year at last week’s Red and Green Ball .
“It’s been a pretty hectic two weeks – probably the greatest two weeks of my whole life,” admitted Johnston of his time since winning the Grand Final.
“At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t really expecting to play first grade. Now I’ve achieved that goal, and won a Grand Final. To be selected in the Australian team as well – it’s just a dream, but it’s definitely onwards and upwards from here.”
The speedster’s selection was made even sweeter with the knowledge that fellow Souths Junior and long-time friend, Dylan Walker, will also be a part of the squad.
“Dylan and I have played together since Harold Matthews, so to be selected in this team together – I’m just so proud of him,” said Johnston.
“It’s great for me as well because we have a combination having come through the grades at Souths. In the Australian Schoolboys we didn’t link up much because he (Walker) was playing hooker, but it’d be awesome to get the chance in the green and gold.”
Should both Johnston and Walker make their Test debut’s in the upcoming Four Nations, they will bring the total number of Souths Juniors who have become internationals to 57, and the total number of Rabbitohs to become Kangaroos while with South Sydney to 66.
SOUTH SYDNEY JUNIOR PLAYERS WHO BECAME INTERNATIONALS – 55
Braith Anasta, Bob Banham, Alf Blair, Ray Branighan, Gordon Clifford, Ron Coote, Les Cowie, Steve Darmody, Denis Donoghue, Col Donohoe, Angelo Dymock, Jim Dymock, Harry Finch, Bryan Fletcher, Tere Glassie, Brian Hambly, Ernie Hammerton, Greg Hawick, Terry Hill, Keith Holman, Harold Horder, Harry Kadwell, Clem Kennedy, John Kerwick, Eric Lewis, Reni Maitua, Martin Masella, Bob McCarthy, Brian Moore, Brett Mullins, Wally O’Connell, Alf O’Connor, Frank O’Connor, Bryan Orrock, Arthur Oxford, George Piggins, Bernie Purcell, Ian Roberts, Eddie Root, Paul Sait, Craig Salvatori, Jim Serdaris, Eric Simms, Tyran Smith, Bill Spence, Gary Stevens, Brad Takairangi, Billy Thompson, George Treweek, Jack Troy, Benny Wearing, Jack Why, Perce Williams, Graham Wilson, Craig Wing.
PLAYED FOR AUSTRALIA WHILE WITH SOUTH SYDNEY - 64
Tommy Anderson, Jim Armstrong, Alf Blair, Cecil Blinkhorn, Ray Branighan, Tim Brasher, Arthur Butler, Bill Cann, Mark Carroll, Clive Churchill, Michael Cleary, Ron Coote, Les Cowie, Frank Curran, Steve Darmody, Les Davidson, Jim Davis, Denis Donoghue, Terry Fahey, Harry Finch, Bryan Fletcher, Herb Gilbert, Bob Grant, John Graves, Howard Hallett, Ernie Hammerton, Greg Hawick, Arthur Hennessy, Bob Honan, Harold Horder, Greg Inglis, Brian James, Harry Kadwell, Clem Kennedy, John Kerwick, Jack Levison, Eric Lewis, Jim Lisle, Bob McCarthy, Eddie McGrath, Paddy Maher, Ian Moir, Ray Norman, Alf O’Connor, Frank O’Connor, John O’Neill, Arthur Oxford, George Piggins, Denis Pittard, Bernie Purcell, Jack Rayner, Eddie Root, John Rosewell, Paul Sait, John Sattler, Eric Simms, Bill Spence, Gary Stevens, David Taylor, George Treweek, Elwyn Walters, Benny Wearing, Jack Why, Perce Williams
For other records, including lists of other South Sydney internationals (including Souths Juniors and those who became internationals before or after their time with South Sydney) please click here.