Johnston to fight for NRL career on wing

Scott Bailey
Alex Johnston hopes starring on the wing for Souths will help him earn a new NRL contract

Alex Johnston is ready to fight for a new contract while playing on the wing as South Sydney reshuffles their backline without James Roberts.

With Roberts checking himself into a rehabilitation facility, Latrell Mitchell has kept training at fullback for the Rabbitohs and will likely start there against old club Sydney Roosters in round three.

Campbell Graham has moved from the left wing to right centre, while Johnston will get his chance on the wing after spending most of the first two rounds on the bench.

The noted try-scorer is off contract, and does not know if he will receive an offer to extend his time at South Sydney into an eighth season.

"I'm off contract so I am pretty excited to play 80 and try and play my best footy," Johnston said.

"I've been playing fullback for the last few years because that's what the team has needed and I really enjoyed my time back there.

"I would love to play fullback again.

"But playing 80 minutes gives me more time out there to put my best foot forward and try and get some interest from all the clubs."

Johnston has started 68 games on the wing in his career, scoring 61 of his 84 career tries out wide. He also played one Test for Australia there in 2015.

However he did fear he wouldn't have another real chance to impress potential suitors.

With the NRL on hold, Johnston was unable to talk to other clubs and was unsure if he would have enough minutes to remind teams how dangerous he can be.

"It did weigh on me a little bit, having that uncertainty for a while," the 25-year-old said.

"Whether we were going to come back and if I was going to have another opportunity to show what I've got.

"But I am pretty confident in myself and pretty confident that I am definitely going to get a contract."

Meanwhile the Rabbitohs have continued to wrap their arms around Roberts.

Close friend Cody Walker on Friday said football needed to be the last thing on Roberts mind.

"I'm not overly concerned ... He's in the best place," Walker said.

"One of (coach) Wayne (Bennett)'s greatest strengths is his care factor for his players.

"He gets to know you on a deeper level and more personal level as opposed to a rugby league player.

"He gets his players and understands what they need and what to say."