South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett insists the NRL club are working towards re-signing veteran winger Alex Johnston to a new deal.
The off-contract Johnston made a strong case to be re-signed after bagging a hat trick in the Rabbitohs’ 32-24 comeback win over St George Illawarra on Thursday.
Johnston’s big night comes just weeks after expressing his dismay at being forced to consider leaving his junior to club to continue his career.
It also comes in the same week the club has been dragged into a public tug-of-war over the future of teenage prodigy Joseph Suaalii.
“He put himself in a position to get those tries with the intercepts so that was really good,” Bennett said of Johnston’s heroics against the Dragons.
“It’s a work in progress regarding his contract, I don’t think any of us want him to leave the club but we have a salary cap. We’re trying to fit him in.”
The Rabbitohs will also be sweating on the health of star halfback Adam Reynolds, who picked up a shoulder issue after a strong hit by Tariq Sims.
Reynolds tried to warm up in the second half but failed to return.
“He’s pretty sore and tender at the moment,” Bennett said.
“No one’s quite sure where that’s going to go or how long it will take. Nerves create that type of situation. There was never a point he was coming back.”
The victory lifts South Sydney back into the top eight ahead of a clash with Bennett’s former club Brisbane next week.
“It’s vital (to keep winning),” Bennett said.
“We’ve been patchy, we’ve been beating ourselves a lot. The first 16 points they got, there was a bit of bad luck on one of them, some poor play from us.
“Then we settled down. If we can play most weeks like we did the last 60 tonight, we won’t have any problem staying in the eight.”