Vale – Brian Johnson
Vale – Brian Johnson
Born 26 June 1956
Passed Away 11 January 2016
Champion St. George player, Brian Johnson, lost his battle with Alzheimer’s disease on Monday. The exciting try scoring fullback was just 59.
Growing up in the Illawarra district, Brian was a junior star with the Dapto club in the 1970s. He was a member of the Dapto side which won the 1973 Illawarra under 17 Premiership and the next year, he represented Illawarra under 18s.
After making his first grade debut with the Canaries, he was a prominent member of Dapto’s Illawarra Premiership winning teams of 1976 and 1977. In 1978, he was in the Illawarra team which won the NSW Country Championship and a few weeks later, represented Country Firsts against City.
Brian played the first of his seven seasons with St. George in 1979 and that year, he scored one of the Dragons’ three tries in their 17-13 Grand Final win over the Bulldogs at the SCG on 22 September.
Altogether, he played 149 first grade games for St. George, scoring 54 tries. He went to England at the end of the 1985 Australian season to link up with Warrington for the 185/86 English season. Back home, he played 12 first grade games with the Roosters in 1986, scoring two tries.
Back in England for the 1986/87 season, he played with and coached Warrington. He played 103 games with Warrington, including Lancashire Cup and Regal trophy Finals and scored a try in the Premiership trophy final win against Halifax.
In 1988 he began nine seasons as Warrington coach, where he guided the Wires to Lancashire Cup and Regal Trophy victories, as well to the 1990 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, where they lost to Wigan.
A trained teacher, Brian taught high school Physical Education in his early football career, but after coming back home after his long coaching stint at Warrington, he worked and coached in Rugby League at the Australian Institute of Sport. From around 1998, he returned to England several times when he was in charge of Institute football teams.
Brian is survived by his wife Karen and his two sons. Funeral details are not known at this stage.
Rest in Peace Brian.