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Les Johns

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Player Bio

Inducted:
2008
Birthplace:
Newcastle, NSW
Date of Birth:
27 July 1942
Nickname:
-
Debut Team:
Country Seconds
Opposition:
City Seconds
Date:
03 June 1961
Venue:
Sydney Cricket Ground, NSW
Representative:
Country, City, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Clubs:
South Newcastle, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Career

Milestones

  • Grand Final Appearance: 1967
  • Kangaroo Tours: 1963-64, 1967-68
  • NSWRL Player of the Year: 1968
  • Sun-Herald Best and Fairest: 1969
  • Grand Final man of the match*: 1967
  • Rated No. 39 in Rugby League Week’s Top 100 players: 1992
  • Named in NRL Team of the 1960s: 2006
First Class Games
204
Points
1157
Tries
32

Biography

Like Clive Churchill, Les Johns began his football career in Newcastle. Also like Churchill, Johns could kick goals, tackle and run like a greyhound. And like the Little Master he was rarely less than dynamic, a match-winner in a small economy-sized package who came south to try his luck in the big league and stayed to build a wonderful career.

When, in 2006, a selection panel rich in experience sat down in Sydney to pick the ''team of the '60s'', Johns was fullback, an extraordinary tribute considering the quality of his contemporaries at fullback: Keith Barnes, Ken Thornett and Graeme Langlands.

The blonde-haired Johns made his early mark in football with a dazzling display for Newcastle against Great Britain in 1962, a match won famously by the home side. He was in Sydney by 1963, signed by Canterbury, the start of a richly successful nine-year partnership.

Arguably Johns' most spectacular moment came in 1966 when he felled Balmain's flying Kevin Yow Yeh at the Sydney Sports Ground with one of the greatest cover tackles ever made by a fullback.

The 1967–68 Kangaroo tour was probably his masterpiece. Journalists who accompanied the team, such as EE Christensen, Mike Gibson and Alan Clarkson, offered rave reviews about his unorthodoxy and brilliant attacking skills when the team came home.

“Johns could almost pull off the impossible, and always did the unpredictable.”

Peter Moore Former Canterbury supremo

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
South Newcastle Newcastle Competition 1961 1962 - - - - -
Canterbury-Bankstown Premiership 1963 1971 103 14 233 19 545
Canterbury-Bankstown Official Pre-Season 1963 1971 24 4 44 5 110
Canterbury-Bankstown Ampol Cup 1963 1963 3 - 12 - 24
Canterbury-Bankstown State Cup 1964 1965 4 - 8 - 16

Representative Career

City - Country

City - Country
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Country Firsts City Firsts 1961 1961 1 - - - -
City Firsts Country Firsts
1963
1965
1968
1963
1966
1968
4 - 17 - 34
City Seconds Country Seconds 1964 1964 1 1 7 - 17
Sydney Country 1963 1963 1 - 3 - 6
Sydney Touring Sides 1963 1963 1 - 7 - 14

State

State
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
New South Wales Interstate Series Queensland
1962
1969
1966
1969
15 5 74 3 169
New South Wales Touring Sides
1962
1964
1966
1963
1964
1966
4 1 7 - 17

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests 1963 1969 14 2 30 - 66
Australia Tour Matches
1963
1967
1965
1969
29 5 62 - 139

Hall Of Fame Members