You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Johnston keen to charge into Jillaroos starting side

Coming off the bench – and off the back fence for that matter – have earned Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues forward Caitlan Johnston a huge following.

But now after being one of 13 debutants named in the World Cup Jillaroos squad, Johnston is aiming to convert that notoriety into a spot in the starting line-up.

She’s happy to play anywhere in the Australian 17 but is hoping to impress Jillaroos coach Brad Donald before the first game against Cook Islands on 4 November in York, and prove that she can handle the opening exchanges at prop.

Millie Boyle has withdrawn from the Jillaroos tour but that doesn’t guarantee Johnston can walk into the No.8 or No.10 jersey, despite starting alongside Boyle for all seven Knights NRLW matches this year.

“For me, whether I’m starting or on the bench, I just want to get out there and make the hit-ups and the tackles,” Johnston told from the Jillaroos camp on the Gold Coast.

“I like to give a 110 per cent and not hold back in any way. I’d like to be able to prove myself by being in that starting side.

Caitlan Johnston comes off the back fence

“But only time will tell. Fingers crossed that’s where I get to.”

Johnston started at lock in the Prime Minister’s XIII against Fiji in 2019, and has been starting prop for the past three Indigenous All Stars games against Maori (2020-22).

But coming off the Sky Blues interchange bench, Johnston produced a kick-return at the start of the second half in the 20-14 win over the Maroons that put her on the map.

She’s convinced that got her a seat on the plane with the Jillaroos to the UK.

“I think that big back-fence run in Origin really put the icing on the cake for me (in terms of selection),” Johnston said.

“That was my type of game and one of the best games I’ve ever played. That got my foot in the door, and I’ll be forever grateful to the Sky Blues jersey.

“Now I want to do the same in the Jillaroos jersey.”

It’s been a hectic year full of breakthroughs and accolades.

A State of Origin win in her NSW debut led to the inaugural ‘Sky Blues Award’ at the Brad Fittler Medal dinner, with the Knights NRLW Grand Final win over the Eels leading to two major honours at Newcastle’s club awards night.

In between all that was finishing fifth, or just outside the finals, with Newcastle in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.

In the sheds | Caitlan Johnston

“I actually haven’t had time to reflect to be honest… I haven’t had much down time but that will probably come when we’re away on tour,” she said.

“I will be definitely taking a few weeks away from Rugby League after the World Cup, which will probably be the best thing for me.

“I’m very humbled to be here… it is always something that’s been on my list – to make Jillaroos.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partner

Major Partners

View All Partners