Alan Johns began his junior career with Glenelg but he sought and gained a clearance to Norwood prior to the commencement of the 1946 season. He participated in the pre-season trials. Johns was strongly built and was tried at full back and as a ruck rover. He gained a place in the association (seconds) training squad. He impressed in those early matches, playing mainly as a ruck rover, resting in a back pocket.
In early May, with the league side sustaining a number of injuries, Alan was chosen to play his first league match as a ruck rover against South Adelaide. It was an auspicious start, he kicked a goal and although South were favoured to win, Norwood won by a massive 113 points.
Alan was establishing himself in the senior side. Following a game against Port Adelaide in May the Advertiser reported that, “Johns played exceptionally well on the ball and in defence.” It was also reported that the Norwood ruck comprising Way, Johns and Oatey was,“Most formidable.”
With Norwood emerging as premiership favourites, positions in the team were challenged. Consequently, Johns spent the latter half of the season mainly in the seconds but he did get a taste of league finals football when he was chosen as 19th man in the semi-final against Port Adelaide. He came on in the last quarter to replace the injured Sawley. Unfortunately he missed selection in the 1946 premiership side.
The 1947 season followed in a similar vein. Early, Johns was established as the league side’s full back and had the reputation of being, “Very solid in defence.” By season’s end he was again fluctuating between grades in what was now an outstanding Norwood team..
1948 proved to be a dismal season for Alan. In a game against North Adelaide he was stretchered off suffering, “Slight concussion and a split mouth.” It was found later, although he had made no complaint, that he had a broken wrist. He lacked nothing in toughness. He took no further part in that season.
He returned for the 1949 season. What impact the injury had we can’t be certain but he added only a few league games in this his final year. His last game against Sturt in June 1949
B Ridge April 2019