Johns 'Not Pressured' by Family Ties
He holds one of the most revered surnames in the history of the game, but budding Newcastle Knights five-eighth Jack Johns is focused only on making a name for himself.
Match: Bulldogs vs Knights
Round 11 -
Venue: North Sydney Oval
The 20-year-old son of Knights legend Matthew – and nephew to the game's eighth Immortal, Andrew – is looking to cement himself as a regular in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
And given the Knights' improved showings in recent weeks, it's clear he is not feeling the pressure of the 'Johns' tag.
"It's not too bad because I get people asking me that question all the time, so when I think about the people that think I've got so much pressure on me, in a way it takes it off," Johns tells NSWRL.com.au.
"My brother (Cooper) plays along with it, and we use it as a bit of motivation ... we're pretty competitive. [Our teammates] have a laugh with each other about it, I don't see it as pressure or as a bad thing at all."
Turning out in Round 10 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for what was his fourth game in the competition this season, Johns played an instrumental role in the Knights' 28-22, come-from-behind victory over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles.
Displaying composure and confidence well beyond his years in the crucial stages of the second half, Johns proved pivotal in the Knights overturning an early 10-0 deficit.
"The physicality of it all – you have to work on your defence a lot but usually that's been a strong part of my game," Johns says of the challenges of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
"Coming from the (Jersey Flegg Cup), this year my defence hasn't been as good ... so it's definitely something I have to work on."
But playing against the 'bigger boys' is something Johns is not new too.
Chosen to represent Italy in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup – all before he'd had a chance to play week-to-week open-aged football – 'Cobber' described the Test experiences as the "best he's ever had".
"When you work with great players and a fullback of Teddy's (Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues Incumbent, James Tedesco) kind... unless you are a fullback yourself you can't really learn in between positions," Johns says of playing with the Azzurri.
"As a half, it was good to get an opinion off him and see what I can do [for myself] and what I can do better for him, and other fullbacks out the back."
Johns and the Newcastle Knights will be hoping to record their first consecutive wins of the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, set to take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at North Sydney oval in Magic Round.