More dribble - read headline then last paragraph.
Top tryscorer was ‘very close’ to signing with Tigers. But the club blew it with a lowball offer
September 29, 2020 2:19pm
Source: FOX SPORTS
Fresh off a five-try clinic against the Roosters on Friday, South Sydney flyer Alex Johnston has revealed he was “days” away from inking a deal with the Wests Tigers.
The 25-year-old, who finished the season as the competition’s top tryscorer, re-signed with the Rabbitohs earlier this month after the club backflipped on their decision to let him go.
Johnston was informed by the club in October last year that salary cap space will be tight in 2021 and there may not be room for him. Then in April, South Sydney let Johnston know that they could not make him an offer for 2021 as there was only space for minimum wage contracts. It was heartbreaking news for the local junior who has been nothing but a fantastic ambassador and consistent player for the Bunnies.
Resigned to the fact he wouldn’t be a Rabbitoh next season he began talks with other clubs. During that time, his looming exit came to light and outraged fans began a petition to keep Johnston at Redfern.
There was plenty of interest in the former Kangaroos winger with the Bulldogs, Cowboys, Storm and Tigers all talking to Johnston and his manager. The Storm and Tigers made an offer to Johnston before the Rabbitohs came to the table with a deal as well, which Johnston took despite it being around $100,000 less per year than what Melbourne offered.
Johnston revealed on Tuesday that he was actually “very close” to signing with either the Storm or Tigers. He was keen to reunite with former Bunnies coach Michael Maguire whom he wont the 2014 Grand Final with but the problem with the Tigers though was that they offered him a lowball deal. And for the record he never expected or asked for big money or ‘fullback money,’ contrary to many reports.
“They were the main two (Storm and Tigers). I was very close, and it pretty much came down to a couple of days there where it was 50/50,” he said.
“The other clubs were very good to me, very tempting and I think I’d say 50/50 were the odds at the end of the day.
“It was pretty weird to think about it. I gave myself every chance to try and stay in Sydney and stay with Souths, and I’m just lucky that it came through.
“I don’t want to say too much about what went on, but the Tigers deal was not as high as other clubs.”
It was a tough slog for Johnston who has always wanted to be a one-club man. He described the period as a “rollercoaster” and admitted that he held onto a “a little bit of hope” that Souths could work something out to keep him.
“Mentally it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. A lot of ups and downs – I just tried to use it as motivation the best I could at the start of the year. The longer the season went, the longer it was playing on my mind,” he said.
“I was pretty stoked to have some interest from other clubs and then finally sign the contract, it was a huge relief. I get to stay at Souths and now I think my best footy is coming to fruition.
“I did hold a little bit of hope there when sometimes it didn’t look like it was going to happen. If I kept playing good footy and staying motivated, something might happen and I’m very fortunate that it did.
“Wayne pulled me aside and said he was going to do his best to keep me and to hang in there. Once it came through that there was a contract there, I was pretty stoked and couldn’t wait to put pen to paper.”
The Tigers are in the market for a number of positions with Maguire letting go of eight players ahead of the 2021 season.
Storm star Josh Addo-Carr has been linked to a return to the Tigers, his former club, which could be the reason why they weren’t able to offer Johnston a better deal. After missing out on Johnston’s signature, the Tigers are desperate to land Addo-Carr and are also reportedly eyeing Raiders winger Jordan Rapana.
Thanks for the heads up. Glad we offered what we did.
I dunno who is in this writer’s ear to make her state that it was a lowball offer. Last I knew that was a term of criticism. But…
If the bloke was in demand he’d have been offered better than us by a Sydney club. And he wasn’t. Even his own club didn’t want to keep him.
Lowball? Sounds more like market value to me.