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It has been told a million times before – the tale of the boy who dethroned a legend at South Sydney in 2014. 

How South Sydney wonder boy Alex Johnston took the reins off club legend Nathan Merritt on the left wing and ran with them.

Grand Final Preview: Rabbitohs v Bulldogs

With Merritt scoring a club-record 146 tries at the club before announcing his retirement last week, Johnston has taken the initiative and scored 20 tries himself in only 17 appearances in the famous myrtle and cardinal jumper.

While Merritt lingered in NSW Cup for the majority of the year, Johnston thrived. 

Now the 19-year-old finds himself one win away from premiership glory, a feat Merritt was never able to achieve. 

With 80 minutes of footy remaining in season 2014, Johnston and his Rabbitohs teammates are after one thing – the first South Sydney premiership in 43 years. 

"We have come this far so we haven't come here just to make the NRL grand final, we're here for one thing – we want to win it," Johnston told

Don't mistake his assurance for cockiness though. The rookie winger isn't getting ahead of himself and it is unquestionably humbled by his achievements thus far.

In fact, the La Perouse Panthers junior became so emotional when discussing the grand final you could tell the former Australian Schoolboy isn't taking things for granted.

"It can't get much better than this. I'm only in my first year and into a grand final. I'm speechless really," Johnston said.

"It is surreal. I can't believe it has happened... it's a great feeling.

"I wasn't even sure I'd be on an NRL field this year so to even think that I have would have got this far even six months ago is definitely surreal."

As for being earmarked for Merritt's place on the wing for many seasons to come? It is something Johnston is certainly looking to live up to.

"He is a South Sydney legend and there's only one team I want to play for and that's Souths, so obviously Nathan Merritt is the player you look up to," Johnston said.

"[Merritt], along with the rest of the team have all helped me out heaps. Whether throughout the year and through the pre-season Nathan has given me tips and he's happy to be a part of this squad. 

"He can't believe either that we've been able to come this far."

While a premiership win will look good on his CV, the feeling of sending out a club legend on a high would be sure to feel just as good.

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