FORMER Warrington Wolves coach and full back Brian Johnson has died.

The 59-year-old Australian, who tackled a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, was at the helm at Wilderspool Stadium from 1988 to 1996, leading Wire to the Challenge Cup Final against Wigan at Wembley in 1990.

He died peacefully on Monday, surrounded by his family and friends.

Johnson was a member of the St George side that won the Australian Grand Final in 1979 and joined Warrington as a player in 1985.

Among his 103 Wolves games he scored a memorable try in the following year’s stunning Premiership Trophy Final success over champions Halifax at Elland Road.

See the try here:


Warrington Guardian:

He steered the club to Lancashire Cup and Regal Trophy successes as a coach.

The former teacher, who lived with his wife Karen and two sons in Wollongong, New South Wales, returned to the UK many times in charge of touring Australian Institute of Sport rugby league teams.

Warrington Guardian:

Brian Johnson at Wilderspool in 2010 as coach of the Australian Institute of Sport rugby league team


Roy Lester has left his tribute on Facebook.

He said: "I am devastated with the news that my friend Brian Johnson has passed away.

"I had the pleasure of being on the coaching staff at Warrington under his leadership.

"He was a lovely man and a great player and great coach. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karen and the boys. God Bless Brian and rest in peace."

A spokesman for the Wolves said: "The club and Players’ Association pass on their condolences to Brian’s wife Karen and two sons Brett and Liam."

Mark Forster, former teammate and then player under Johnson, also said on the social media site: "So sorry to here about the passing of Brian Johnson top player/coach and an all round guy will b sadly missed, thoughts for Karen Johnson and the boys rip mate from the Forsters"

Warrington Wolves director Mike Lomax has Tweeted:




Another of Brian Johnson's Wire tries can be seen here:

And playing for St George in the 1983 Australian play-offs semi final versus Canterbury Bulldogs, showing off kicking skills: