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Johns loving Knight life after 14 year absence

True Blue Andrew Johns is relishing being back in the red-and-blue kit of the Newcastle Knights as he throws himself into his new coaching consultant’s role with all grades.

“It just feels like home,” Johns told SEN radio.

“I haven’t worked at the club for 13 or 14 years now – I just needed a break away – but I feel now is the right time.

“I’m absolutely loving it and the way the players have responded. I’m back in the colours, in familiar surroundings, still with a lot of support staff who were there when I was.

“It’s what the Knights mean to the community. The town loves the team and the team loves the town. It’s a really special footy club.”

Johns, the Eighth Immortal, played 249 first grade games for the Knights before retiring with a neck injury in 2006. He also played 23 State of Origins for the NSW Blues and 25 Test matches.

A measure of Johns’ enjoyment being back at his old stomping ground was his comment after a recent three-week camp with the Knights squads, who broke free of the COVID-19 constraints around Newcastle.

“It was like Disneyland – I loved it,” he said.

“The first week we had no newspapers, no TV, no phones and you don’t realise how much work you can get done – double sessions. I loved every minute of it.

“Obviously I haven’t been involved with the club for a while, but it feels like the right time to go back. I’ve been really impressed with the attitude of the players in getting the work done.

“There are some younger players I didn’t really know but there’s going to be some depth there. It comes down to injuries and if Kalyn Ponga and the Saifiti twins (Daniel, Jacob) play most games.”

Johns has previously done consultancy work for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.