Souths flyer keen on PNG


SOUTH Sydney flyer Alex Johnston has put his hand up to play for Papua New Guinea at this year’s Rugby League World Cup to honour his grandmother.
Johnston’s grandmother, Mary Brown, was born in Lumi, West Sepik, and is related to Dr Bernie Amof, a long-serving medical officer of PNG sports (PNG Olympic Committee).
She moved to Australia from Papua New Guinea at a young age and resides near Johnston in the southern Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove.
The Rabbitohs back is close to his grandmother, he has revealed he will play for Papua New Guinea at the World Cup this October and November if they contact him.
Johnston is the competition’s top try scorer.
Johnston’s first preference is to represent Australia and add to his maiden appearance in 2015, but he hasn’t ruled out donning the Kumuls jumper.
Before his Australian debut, PNGRL officials approached Johnston and asked if he would consider playing for the Kumuls.
“If they came knocking, I’d probably play for them,” Johnston told The Daily Telegraph.
“Obviously I’d love to play for Australia. That’s the goal and that is what I’m aiming for, but if the Aussie thing doesn’t happen and Papua New Guinea offer me, I’ll play with them.
“I think it would be something pretty cool that my grandmother can come to and be a part of.
“She came over to Australia when she was young and she didn’t really speak much English. I’d love to represent her.”
Speaking of the first time he was approached to play for the Kumuls, Johnston said it was something he considered because of the buzz he got from his last visit in 2015.
“Playing in front of the PNG crowd, they’re all going crazy because they know I’m from Papua New Guinea and I have that heritage,” Johnston said.
“It’s just really surreal how much they know me. It’ll be great to play in front of them. It wasn’t really a hard decision, but I was very respectful and thankful for being asked to play for PNG that’s for sure.”
Johnston had the opportunity to play in front of his relatives from Papua New Guinea when South Sydney played against North Queensland in Cairns in round 19.
“I always enjoy playing in front of those people,” he said.
“As my parents always tell me, there are a lot of kids from Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait Islands that look up to me.
“It was the closest game for them to come and watch, so it was pretty cool.” – The Daily Telegraph

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