Jack Johns had a difficult assignment for his first stint in the NRL when he faced off against 2019 grand finalists the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium, yet Johns’ first season was ended by a thumb injury in his second game after showing good signs in the early stages of his first grade career.
Looking ahead to 2021, the Johns name will make a homecoming to the Newcastle Knights following the news that Jack, son of Matthew, had joined the Novocastrians on a one-year development contract.
Johns last appeared in the red and blue jersey for Newcastle’s Jersey Flegg side in 2017, in a year that also earned him an international cap for Italy at the Rugby League World Cup.
Johns would then graduate from the junior representative program in 2018 to make 11 appearances in the NSW Cup for Newcastle. During that time Johns scored a try, had one line-break, kicked 11 goals, forced three dropouts, and threw nine offloads while averaging 18 tackles per match.
After moving on to South Sydney in 2019, Johns played all 24 matches for the Rabbitohs in Canterbury Cup NSW as they secured second spot on the ladder with 14 wins. Johns finished that year with five tries, six line-breaks, six offloads, three forced dropouts and a season average of 88 run metres and 21 tackles.
Although the 2020 instalment of Canterbury Cup NSW ended after just one round due to COVID-19, Johns continued to prove himself in training among the top-30 squad and was soon rewarded by coach Wayne Bennett with a debut jersey for Round 11 of the NRL.
A half turned edge back-rower in recent years, Johns provides versatility as a ball runner with skilful ball playing ability and an effective short kicking game.
As he makes his return to the Newcastle Knights following the departure of second row pair Aidan Guerra (retirement) and Sione Mata’utia (Super League), a strong pre-season for Johns could see him back in the NRL very soon.