Out-of-contract Rabbitoh Alex Johnston has attracted plenty of interest this season from rivals clubs, but his relationship with teammate Latrell Mitchell could be the key factor that keeps him in South Sydney, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The pair have bonded perfectly for the Rabbitohs since Mitchell’s long-awaited arrival, with their partnership a balance of pace and power.
Johnston’s management have revealed that several league sides have expressed interest in the 25-year-old.
Both Johnston and Mitchell were at their very best during their club’s 32-24 comeback win over the Dragons on Thursday night.
Johnston left Jubilee Stadium with a hat-trick of tries in a night that saw a new partnership blossom under Wayne Bennett.
Unfortunately for Bennett, the club had recently told Johnston to take his future elsewhere, causing a number of rival clubs to pursue his signature.
Johnston’s manger Steve Gillis said the Rabbitohs playmaker won’t struggle to find a suitor for next season.
“He is not going to have any trouble finding a home and we are working through the process,” Gillis said.
“There has been plenty of interest in him.”
While the Rabbitohs future plans failed to faze Johnston, he has since taken on the reality that he could be heading for the exit.
“I’m a local junior and I’ve always maintained that I always wanted to stay at Souths,” Johnston told Channel 9 immediately following the win over the Dragons.
“But at the moment it’s not looking likely.
“I think there’s a lot of salary cap issues there.
“Hopefully tonight I put my best foot forward and some clubs get some offers through.”
Following Thursday night’s win, Bennett revealed the salary cap pressure on the club might see the Rabbitohs fall behind in the race for Johnston’s signature.