PAPUA New Guinea international Alex Johnston has resigned with South Sydney until at least the end of the 2025 National Rugby League (NRL) season, giving the winger every chance of surpassing Ken Irvine’s (212) record for most first-grade tries.
The 26-year-old has played 166 NRL matches, including the 2014 and 2021 grand finals, since he made his debut seven years go.
Johnston has scored 136 tries and has been awarded the Ken Irvine Medal as the season’s top try scorer for the last two consecutive years.
The Kumuls fullback has also represented Australia in one Test match and PNG in two Test fixtures, as well as the Indigenous All Stars on four occasions.
Regarded as one of the best finishers in the game, Johnston is on track to break the Rabbitohs’ all-time try-scoring record held by legend Nathan Merritt on 146 tries.
He holds the record for most tries in one season at South Sydney following his 30 tries this year.
Rabbitohs football boss Mark Ellison said he was thrilled that Johnston was extending his tenure with South Sydney.
“Alex is a tremendous finisher and is really building the other areas of wing play such as kick returns and defence,” he said.
“He is a proud Indigenous man who rose to the Rabbitohs from La Perouse in the Souths junior competitions and has gone on to represent Australia, PNG and the Indigenous All Stars so far.
“He is a popular member of the squad and is becoming one of the leading senior players at the club.
“We’re very excited to extend his contract for a further three years on top of his existing contract and look forward to seeing him score many more tries in that left corner in the years to come.”
Johnston said he was thrilled to be staying at the club for which he had always wanted to play.
“I’m stoked to be staying at the club for a further three years and hopefully it’s another step in staying as a one-club player,” he said.
“The last couple of years have been massive and I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure we go one step further than we did this year and win more premierships for this club.
“I think we have the players and coaches who can do just that and I’m stoked to be staying to play my role in that chase for premierships. I also want to thank the members for their support, particularly over the past two years with everything that we’ve all had to go through with the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Their support for the club hasn’t waned and they have been of great support to me.
“I joked with ‘Ello’ (Ellison) that I wanted to be the first to re-sign this time around, and it’s great to have it all sorted out nice and early.
“I can’t wait to return next season and play for our members and the club once again.”