MATTHEW Johns battled a ghost from the Newcastle Knights' past at Fort Scratchley yesterday.
Johns, as his on-screen character Alby Sandals, was filming a segment for the Matty Johns Show with "Sir Rusty" at the historic Newcastle location.
Chris Kelly dressed as Sir Rusty for more than 10 years before he became his modern-day successor, Jester.
He and Johns, who was playing for the Newcastle Knights at the time, celebrated the 1997 grand final win together in Newcastle.
However yesterday there was no such camaraderie.
Alby and Sir Rusty jousted for the cameras with Alby struck in the chest.
The Alby Mangels-inspired character then managed to distract Sir Rusty just long enough by showing him footage of the 1997 grand final.
In each episode, Alby Sandals journeys to an NRL town and battles its mascot only to escape a little injured.
The Matty Johns Show, which screens on Prime, has been consistently rating among the top three programs in Newcastle on Thursday nights. It was the second most popular show in Newcastle last Thursday after NBN news.
"I'm really happy with the ratings but you can't focus on them too much," Johns said.
"If you do it can drive you nuts and it takes away on what you should be worried about which is inventing new characters and having a good time."
While Johns clearly enjoys playing his on-screen characters, which includes Don Kirk, a spoof of Don Burke, he has been filming long hours for the show.
The shoot at Fort Scratchley, which will screen either this week or next week, took five hours.
The segment will run on air for just one minute and 45 seconds.
A former Cessnock lad, Johns's TV comeback came less than a year after he left Nine's Footy Show in the wake of a sex scandal.
Johns has maintained a positive focus throughout his new show.
"Whether it lasts six weeks, six months or six years, I was going to enjoy it. That's the only promise I made to myself," he said.