NRL Rd 4 - Storm v Rabbitohs
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Josh Addo-Carr of the Storm looks on during the round four NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park on June 05, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Alex Johnston has confirmed he’s been informed by South Sydney he won’t be retained beyond 2020, opening the door for Josh Addo-Carr at Redfern.

Johnston has been a mainstay in the South Sydney squad since debuting in 2014, winning a premiership in his first year and representing Australia in his second.

And with Addo-Carr requesting a release from the final year of his Storm contract on compassionate grounds, the odds are shortening on the Melbourne flyer linking up with master coach Wayne Bennett in 2021.

The winger has come public on his desire to return to Sydney after spending the last four years in Melbourne, with the majority of his family residing in New South Wales’ capital.

Linking Addo-Carr further to the club is his junior years, attending Matraville Sports High growing up whilst playing for the La Perouse Panthers, a club that boasts names like Adam Reynolds, Alex Johnston, Nathan Peats, James Roberts and Nathan Merritt.

In fact, he played for the club’s SG Ball side in 2012 before getting sacked, but the opportunity to link up with mates in Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell may prove too tempting for the speedster.

Clubs such as the Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have all expressed interest in his signature, with a lack elite talent across the backline of each club.

Close off field, Walker, Mitchell and Addo-Carr all featured for the Blues in Game I last series, as well as the Indigenous All Stars in 2019.

The arrival of Jai Arrow and potentially Addo-Carr could turn South Sydney from a ‘top eight side’ into contenders in 2021, and while Bennett will almost certainly deny the speculation, talks will happen behind the scenes.

The club has a strong connection with the Indigenous community and has boasted names like Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Nathan Peats and Beau Champion in recent years, and 11 of their last 15 tries have been scored by Indigenous athletes. The chance to join this culture will be a huge card to play in the battle for his signature, as will the salary cap.

South Sydney could also make salary cap room by releasing Queensland and Kangaroo incumbent Dane Gagai, which the club attempted to do in the pre-season during a tussle with the Titans for Jai Arrow’s early release.

Gagai is on a reported $700,000 a season in Redfern, meaning Souths will likely have to pay a chunk of his salary in 2021 if he is to move on.

The club’s could potentially orchestrate a swap deal if Johnston is willing to move to Melbourne, and could solve the Storm’s backline crisis with Vunivalu still set to head to the Queensland Reds.

A decision from Josh Addo-Carr isn’t expected until later this year however the odds are shortening significantly, with Johnston’s departure the latest pawn to fall.

One thing is certain though, Addo-Carr would fire playing outside the likes of Latrell Mitchell, Braidon Burns and Cody Walker, watch this space.

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  1. Rabbits
    Release Alex Johnston and sign JAC
    Release Dane Gagai

    1. Latrell Mitchell
    2. Josh Addo-Carr
    3. Braidon Burns
    4. James Roberts
    5. Campbell Graham
    6. Cody Walker
    7. Adam Reynolds
    8. Tevita Tatola
    9. Damien Cook
    10. Jai Arrow
    11. Jayden Su’a
    12. Ethan Lowe
    13. Cameron Murray

    14. Bayley Sironen
    15. Liam Knight
    16. Thomas Burgess
    17. Mark Nicholls

    That’s a very very tough team

  2. Well when you paint such a lovely bloody picture as to how good this will be for Souths, Melbourne should trade Addo-Carr to bulldogs or NO DEAL

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