Brett Andrew Johnstone
- 704Wallaby Number
Brett Johnstone was a will-o’-the-wisp scrum-half blessed with a swift pass and astonishing speed who had the misfortune to play in the shadow of Peter Slattery.
Born on Queensland’s Darling Downs, Johnstone attended Goondiwindi State High School for a time before he transferred 350 kilometres east to Downlands College. It was at Dowlands, under the mantra of former England Rugby coach John Elders, that Johnstone teamed up with Tim Horan and formed a lethal halves combination in the U15 ‘A’ side through to the 1st XV.
In 1992 Johnstone made his Queensland debut against Fiji in Suva and a year later, with Nick Farr-Jones retired, he was elevated to the Wallaby squad as reserve half behind Slattery. In the opening quarter of the season’s first international against Tonga, Slattery was kneed in the back and forced from the field to give Johnstone a Test debut on his home turf of Ballymore. At the end of the season, and with Farr-Jones re-retired, the Australian selectors dropped a bombshell when they named Mark Catchpole, son of the great Ken Catchpole, and not Johnstone as the reserve scrum half for the tour to North America and France. While Johnstone did not play another Test he continued to remain loyal to Queensland.
In the 1995 Super 10 final against Transvaal, Johnstone latched onto a sloppy reverse flick pass from his opposite Johan Roux to race more than 70 meters and score the try that turned the game. The Reds went on to win 30-16 and in doing so claim the Super 10 title for a second consecutive year.
Represented Australian U17s when they defeated New Zealand U17s 16-3
Johnstone took a step forward by representing the Australian Under 21 side that met New Zealand Under 21’s.
Johnstone won his sole Test cap off the bench when he replaced Peter Slattery at halfback in the 52-14 defeat of Tonga in Brisbane. He scored his first Test try to become the 72nd Wallaby to score a try on debut.