They say when one door closes, another one opens, and this is exactly case for the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Alex Johnston.
With fullback and captain Greg Inglis out for the season, the huge responsibility now lies on the slender shoulders of the 21-year-old winger.
Touted as Souths’ future fullback, the fleet-footed winger now has an opportunity to impress not only coach Michael Maguire but also disgruntled Rabbitohs supporters, who are seething at the loss of Inglis.
In his previous efforts at the back Johnston has been highly criticised, particularly with the physicality that comes with the role, however he showed great signs in this year’s Charity Shield that he can do the job.
His speed to sneak through for a try off a scrum was nice to see, but it was his defence, positioning and organisation that really impressed me. If he can improve on these qualities and also bring a bit of ball playing into his game I have no doubt he can be a quality custodian someday.
No doubt there will be competition from the likes of Cody Walker who filled in last season, as well as up and comer Braidon Burns who is also capable of playing at the back, but Maguire has given ‘AJ’ first shot at the role against Manly this weekend.
It’s a good show of faith from the coach and Rabbitohs fans will hopefully be seeing a future number one in Johnston, who comes off contract at the end of this season and will be champing at the bit to produce and get his name in the headlights.
A lot of people forget that he’s still only 21 years old and has a lot of footy in front of him, hopefully in cardinal and myrtle.