Johnston's fitting Brisbane return
It seems like an eternity since Alex Johnston made his NRL debut, such is the huge impact he made on the NRL last year.
But it is less than a year – 314 days to be precise – since the prodigious 20-year-old stepped out onto Suncorp Stadium for his first top flight game, coincidentally the same ground which will host the season opener on Thursday.
It was Anzac Day at one of rugby league's finest grounds, where 44,122 boisterous Broncos fans made their voices heard, but a green Johnston in the sixth minute went on to silence plenty, out-jumping Daniel Vidot for the first of his league-best 21 tries in 2014.
In what should prove to be an apt start to his first full year of first grade, a more experienced Johnston cast his eye back to that unforgettable debut on the eve of his return to Suncorp.
"My debut against Brisbane is something I'll always remember. It was a huge occasion," Johnston told NRL.com.
"I just remember being in my brothers' arms at the start listening to the national anthem and last post. I remember how good it was to have my first touch of the ball, let alone score my first try in the NRL.
"It's a different feeling now though, I have a lot less nerves definitely and I have a bit more experience under my belt."
After scoring 21 tries in 18 games, winning the Grand Final and being rewarded with a spot in Australia's Four Nations squad, Johnston is planning on using all of his experiences from his debut season to better himself as a player.
"The Four Nations squad especially was just a great experience. Being amongst some of the best players in the world was a good learning curve for me personally and I'll take that as motivation to make more representative teams in the future," he said.
"Just to be amongst that environment was something special. I've always dreamed of it.
"Even this time last year, it wasn't something I would've expected to do. I wasn't even sure if I was going to play one game of first grade last year!"
Now shaping up as one of the game's best outside backs, Johnston has made it no secret fullback is where he wants to play moving forward.
After playing behind the defensive line in the Charity Shield, Johnston added he is content with biding his time behind Queensland and Australian superstar Greg Inglis for now.
"Fullback was fun but I'm on the wing now and I'm focused on doing my job," Johnston said.
"I'm sticking on the left side for now with Bryson [Goodwin] but really who knows what Madge [coach Michael Maguire] has up his sleeve."