Les Johns

Career Stats & Summary

Vital Statistics

Golden Boy
Wednesday, 22nd July, 1942
Current Age
78 years and 327 days
Place Of Birth
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Awards & Accolades

Clive Churchill Medal
Australian Hall Of Fame


C’bury ‘Golden Boy’ was a brilliant fullback whose career was constantly interrupted by injury. The slightly built 19-year-old represented Country in 1961 from Souths Newcastle but in what would be a familiar pattern throughout his career, he withdrew from the Country team the following year because of injury. After starring for Newcastle in 1962 Les Johns came to C’bury in 1963 and his outstanding form drew praise from the national selectors. Johns made his international debut against South Africa that year and toured with the 1963-64 Kangaroos. He did not play a Test on tour (Ken Thornett held down the fullback position) but appeared in one Test against France at the end of the tour. Johns was unfortunate in that he was one of many great fullbacks playing during the 1960s – Barnes, Thornett, Langlands and Simms - but he made the most of his opportunities when selected. He was called into the third and deciding Test against Great Britain in 1966 and despite conceding a penalty try with a late tackle and throwing a pass that resulted in an intercept try, Johns was involved in three of Australia's five tries that secured a 19-14 win and the Ashes. 1967 was a watershed year for the plucky fullback despite missing half the season through injury. His efforts in a beaten grand final team against Souths were nothing short of inspirational and he went on to play in all 6 Tests on the 1967-68 Kangaroo tour. Cool under pressure and a good kicker in open play, English fans admired Johns’ ability to bob up anywhere on the field. He missed the 1968 World Cup because of injury and his last ‘rep’ tour was to NZ in 1969. Johns continued to produce his best for the C’bury club but knee injuries finally caught up with him in 1971 and a comeback was aborted the following year. A talented cricketer with the Sutherland club Les Johns could have easily carved out a career in that sport had the call to rugby league not been so strong.


Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the List button.


Test Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1963-69 14 2 30   - 66 8 5 1 57.14% List
Overall 1963-1969 14 2 30   0 66 8 5 1 57.14% List


Australia - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
NSW Firsts 1962-66, 1969 16 3 75   3 165 14 1 1 87.50% List
NSW City Firsts 1963, 1965-66, 1968-69 5 - 17   - 34 5 0 0 100.00% List
Overall 1962-1969 21 3 92   3 199 19 1 1 90.48% List

Club Career

Australian League Matches - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1963 ? 3 39   - 87  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1964 ? 2 34   - 74  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1965 ? - 41   - 82  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1966 ? 3 21   - 51  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1967 ? 2 -   2 10  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1968 ? - 10   5 30  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1969 ? 2 55   11 138  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1970 ? 1 -   - 3  
Canterbury NSWRFL 1971 ? 1 33   1 70  
Overall 1963-1971 ? 14 233   19 545 ? ? ? ?  

Australian League Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canterbury 1963-71 ? 14 233   19 545 ? ? ? ?  
Overall 1963-1971 ? 14 233   19 545 ? ? ? ?  

All Australian Club Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Canterbury 1963-71 ? 14 233   19 545 ? ? ? ?  
Canterbury 1967 3 - -   - - 2 1 0 66.67% List
Overall 1963-1971 ? 14 233   19 545 ? ? ? ?  

Your Say

heather wicks says: Les John's was dynamic. The most exciting footballer I have ever seen play, the ball only had to come near him & the whole crowd was on it's feet. Pity treatment of injuries was not advanced at that time. Could also have been A Grade Cricketer too! (02/10/2011)

Polyhistor says: Actually, was an A grade cricketer - for Petersham-Marrickville in the SCA. Opening bat
whose career well extended past the RL one. A really charming & delightful man to meet! (26/04/2012)

E Curb Nottus says: EE Christensen's Official NSW Rugby League Year Book Player of the Year 1968. (23/05/2012)

Paul Fox says: Les was a fantastic footballer, he had an uncanny ability to sniff out a try or make a try saving tackle. to highlight Les outstanding ability, Australian selectors picked Les at fullback with another champion fullback Graeme Langland picked in the centres. Les Johns was the equal of-todays fabulous talents like Slater, Barba, Inglis it was great to watch him play. (30/07/2013)

Laurie Myers says: Les Johns was the best fullback I have ever seen and I saw them all since 1960. He had the attacking flair of Ben Barba but he could tackle like no other fullback could. He could kick goals, take bombs and score tries with the best of them. I did meet him once. He played in South Newcastle RL Team with my younger brother. Does anyone know how I could contact him? (04/10/2013)

Brett says: I had the pleasure of playing several one day matches with Les (he was a guest player) down at Wollongong during the eighties. What a thorough gentleman.

I am not sure if Les played for Petersham, but he certainly was a Sutho stalward. (09/10/2013)

Eric says: The reason I became a Bulldog supporter except for the injuries would have been recognised as the best fullback ever and would easily handle the modern game as we know it now did it all (12/05/2014)

Greg Briggs says: Les Johns was a child hood hero of mine playing for the Berries. I can remember my father taking me into the dressing room to meet Les after a game at Belmore one day as a 8 or 9 year old. Then about 10 years later I played my first 1st Grade cricket match against St George at Waitara oval in Sydney the club Les played for at the time. So to play cricket against Les after watching him play football as a kid is something I will never forget. (08/07/2014)

Steve Reid says: He started his grade cricket career with Bankstown as you may expect....always willing to talk to his fans. (22/07/2014)

Wombatical says: Before moving to the Sutherland Club, Les played 1st grade cricket for Petersham in the 1970s where one of his teammates was fellow Canterbury RLC player & NSW cricketer Graeme Hughes. (16/03/2017)

john says: Saw Les play at St.Helens Northern England in the 1960,s.We were both young men.Is Les related to Andrew and Matthew?Thanks for my memories Les.John. (08/04/2017)

Fatfreddy says: I consider myself blessed to have seen the mercurial Les Johns play. I am reminded of the current state of the Bulldogs when I 1st started following the Berries back in 1963, a fairly ordinary team with a sensational fullback. however back then they were the greatest "family" club ever. I will remain loyal forever thanks to the likes of players like the great Les Johns...
Freddy (07/08/2017)

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