Selfless Johnston happy to be Doueihi's wingman ... for now

Rabbitohs flyer Alex Johnston sees his future at fullback but doesn't mind playing on the wing "as long as I'm scoring a few tries".

Johnston began the year strongly in the No.1 jersey until he was sidelined by a knee injury, opening the door for Adam Doueihi to claim the role.

After returning from a 10-week absence on the flank in round 24, Johnston switched to fullback for last week's 30-6 qualifying final loss to the Roosters.

Doueihi lined up as a winger in a move coach Wayne Bennett conceded was a "mistake" as the youngster was shown up defensively.

Johnston and Doueihi have swapped back again for this Friday's sudden-death playoff against Manly and the former believes it's a wise call. 

Adding to the back-line shuffle, Campbell Graham will revert to the other wing in place of Corey Allan with Dane Gagai coming in at left centre inside Johnston.

James Roberts has been shifted to the right edge as he looks to find form.

"Gags and I have got a pretty good combo going on there, so we want to make sure it goes back to that and Doueihi's been doing a helluva job at fullback," Johnston told NRL.com.

"I think it's what's best for the team at this time of year. Having Gags back on the left, Jimmy back on the right is going to be beneficial."

Johnston said he may "go searching" infield for the ball if there isn't much happening out wide.

He also confirmed fitness is no issue after the long injury layoff, saying he was surprised by how well he handled returning to fullback.

Meanwhile, Doueihi said he was "thankful" Bennett had decided to give him another shot in the No.1 where he feels at home.

And despite the admittedly poor performance against the Roosters, Doueihi insisted his self-belief hasn't been knocked too badly.

"My confidence at the moment is really high and I'm most confident at fullback at the moment," Doueihi told NRL.com.

"That's where the coach has put me this week and I'm very happy for that.

"Wayne wasn't too critical of me [for the display against the Roosters]. It was a foreign position to me playing on the wing; I'd never played there before. But I told him I was confident to play there.

"I feel I play my best footy at fullback at the moment and I guess that's where the team's had success the past few weeks before last week."

Doueihi hardly played fullback before this year and has learned the subtleties of the craft on the go.

"The fitness levels probably [were the biggest change]," Doueihi said.

"Under the high ball obviously and you play a key role in defence, especially our goal-line defence organising numbers and communicating to the middle forwards and trying to get our line set.

"In attack, popping up at the right spot with the middles and trying to get an opportunity and then taking it with both hands.

"I'm there for now so we'll see what the coach says to me in the off-season."

 

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