By PARKER TAMBUA
SOUTH Sydney are confident that Papua New Guinea Kumuls fullback Alex Johnston will be back in action for the National Rugby League club before the September finals.
The 26-year-old is part of national coach Michael Marum’s plans for the Rugby League World Cup should it take place in October.
But the recent withdrawal of the world’s top-two sides, Australia and New Zealand, from the showpiece event has prompted questions on whether the spectacle will go ahead as scheduled.
And while competing in the World Cup is a goal for many players, Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly told The National that Johnston’s immediate focus was to win his second premiership with the Bunnies.
“Our medical staff have estimated that Alex will miss between two and four weeks of football with his hamstring injury,” he said after the winger limped off early in the second half of their 32-24 win over Canterbury.
“They don’t believe it to be too serious, however, they are cautious with him due to his history of hamstring problems.
“You may learn more from the videos we uploaded on our website on how he got injured.
“Alex hasn’t expressed whether he wishes to represent PNG at the World Cup as yet.
“His focus is on winning the premiership with the Rabbitohs this year and then representative football opportunities will come off the back of him playing good football for South Sydney.
“Alex has said previously that he loves representing the Kumuls and his grandmother’s heritage.”
Solly said Johnston, whose grandmother is from West Sepik’s Aitape-Lumi, had been an important member of the club since he made his NRL debut with Souths in round eight of their 2014 premiership-winning campaign.