Gagai welcomes Rabbitohs’ Johnston backflip

South Sydney star Dane Gagai has welcomed the club‘s backflip on unwanted winger Alex Johnston, saying he is crucial to the Rabbitohs’ premiership aspirations.

Souths originally told Johnston he was free to look elsewhere due to salary cap restrictions but have since changed their stance following heavy criticism from club members.

Several rival NRL teams, including Melbourne, have expressed interest in the La Perouse junior for next season and beyond.

Gagai, though, would love to see Souths secure Johnston long term, especially given he is a local junior.

He also believes the 2014 premiership-winning back possesses the skill set that any team would dream of having at their disposal.

“Alex is playing some of his best footy, so it would be awesome to keep him here,” Gagai said about Johnston, who has played 132 NRL games for the Rabbitohs since joining the club in 2014.

“He adds a lot of diversity.

“I’m not sure on what is going on outside, but he would be an asset to any team, so we’d love to have him here.

“He has got blinding speed, great skills and I think what he does well is that he is a very calm player and he doesn’t really get flustered.

“He has played in a lot of big games and he has represented his country.”

Dane Gagai has welcomed the news that South Sydney may retain winger Alex Johnston after originally telling him he is free to look elsewhere due to the salary cap. Picture: Mark Metcalfe / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Sadly for Souths, Johnston is in doubt for Thursday’s crucial clash against St George Illawarra at the SCG after suffering concussion against Canberra last weekend.

He must undergo further tests this week before receiving clearance to take on the Dragons.

Gagai remains hopeful that Johnston will play after speaking to him at training on Monday.

“I spoke to him and he is feeling pretty good,” he said.

“I think he has got to go and have another check-up and he will sort that out with the doctors, but hopefully he will be OK for this weekend.”

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