BIGGEST STORIES | #9 – Knights Unearth Another Johns
Looking back on the remarkable year that was, NSWRL.com.au counts down the 10 biggest stories from the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season. At No.9, a 20-year-old carrying one of the most revered surnames in Rugby League history makes his Intrust Super Premiership NSW debut.
It had been over ten years since Knights fans had last seen a player with the famous Johns surname don Newcastle's red and blue strip.
That all changed in Round 1 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW season when Jack Johns – son of Matt and nephew of Andrew – ran out in front of the Newcastle crowd as the Knights hosted Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the sides' season-opener.
Making 11 appearances for the Knights' ISP outfit in 2018, the 20-year-old Johns could have been forgiven for feeling a weight of expectation to deliver upon the promise of which his surname holds.
But that wasn't the case.
"It's not too bad because I get people asking me that question all the time [about feeling pressured], 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 told NSWRL.com.au of playing at the Knights.
"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."
In an otherwise disappointing season for the Knights, Johns' debut provided a glimmer of hope heading into the 2019 season.
Still developing – both as a budding football player and also, a person – Johns hopes to guide the Knights to better things next year.
"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 said of the challenges of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
"Coming from the (Jersey Flegg Cup), this year my defence [hadn't] been as good ... so it's definitely something I have to work on."