Rabbitohs star Alex Johnston hit another huge milestone after another epic feat, but still had enough energy to roast a former teammate.
Is there nothing Alex Johnston can’t do when it comes to scoring NRL attempts?
The South Sydney Rabbitohs winger took his 150th NRL try and bounced to the top of the tryscorer list in 2022 with his 14th of the year scoring the first hat-trick in back-to-back games of his career.
It was the catalyst for the Rabbitohs to take a 30-16 win over the Gold Coast Titans, celebrating Tom Burgess’ 200th game in style.
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Johnston, who became the most prolific tryscorer in Rabbitohs history in his last game against the Wests Tigers, passed rugby legends Bob Fulton and Greg Inglis to reach 15th place on the all-time list.
It’s another step for Johnston to chase the NRL’s most unbreakable record – Ken Irvine’s 212 career attempts.
At 27, Johnston is on track to break the all-time record as he has claimed 73 tries in his last 62 games.
After the game, Johnston paid tribute to his teammates for his prolific tryscoring.
“I can’t put it down to anything, when we play a song on the left I tend to score some tries,” Johnston said. “I know it’s cliche, but I do owe it to the guys in me like Stretch (Campbell Graham) and Cody (Walker).”
Former teammate Benji Marshall joked, “You didn’t call me there AJ”.
But Cooper Cronk, co-host of Fox League, didn’t give up and asked, “Of those 150 attempts, Benji Marshall got you ready, right? Secure.”
Johnston played along and said, ‘Did he set me up? You’ll have to refresh my memory, I’m sure he’ll show me some of his highlights, that’s for sure.”
“This is a suture,” Marshall laughed.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou said that scoring tries wasn’t the only thing that brought Johnston to the team.
“A few of those attempts, he’d finished them too,” Demetriou said. “Sometimes people think wingers just put the ball down, but every half or quarter chance from AJ turns into four points. It’s a real asset to our team.
“I think the work he does in the back of the field is just as infectious as what he does scoring. I thought his kick returns were excellent, his energy in the first half and that gave us field position for him to do what he does on the other side.”
The Titans, who put up a decent fight, are still languishing in 15th position after succumbing to a ninth defeat in the past 10 games. The Rabbitohs, who have yet to get into top gear, are now in a position to make a top four finish with the imminent return of Latrell Mitchell a huge boost.
The class of great South Sydney guns Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Campbell Graham, Johnston and Keaon Koloamatangi was the difference as Tom Burgess became the seventh Rabbitoh to make 200 first-class appearances for the club.
Cody Walker lobbed a beautiful floating out-ball for Johnston to do what he does best to get the Rabbitohs on the board early.
Titan’s half Toby Sexton’s kicking game had started early and he threw a great cut-out pass for 105kg runaway beast Greg Marzhew to trample potential Rabbitohs defenders and score.
When the Rabbitohs needed inspiration, half Lachlan Ilias fitted it with a lobed bomb so Jaxson Paulo could fly high and chase it away for a cracker.
The hosts completed 95 percent, missing just 10 tackles in the first stanza, but when Johnston and his company got a foothold in the second half, the Titans were unable to keep up with them.
With Joel Gould, NCA Newswire
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