Newcastle Rugby League: Western Suburbs score the services of Jack Johns

HISTORY: Jack Johns playing for the Newcastle Knights under 20s last year. The Italian World Cup representative has been named on Wests' bench for Saturday's Real NRL fixture against Souths at Harker Oval. Picture: NRL Photos

HISTORY: Jack Johns playing for the Newcastle Knights under 20s last year. The Italian World Cup representative has been named on Wests' bench for Saturday's Real NRL fixture against Souths at Harker Oval. Picture: NRL Photos

It has been 26 years since the Johns family name featured on a Newcastle Rugby League team sheet.

Rugby league’s eighth Immortal Andrew Johns made the briefest of cameos in the lower grades for Cessnock in 1992.

Three seasons earlier older brother and fellow Knights legend Matthew Johns lined-up in a handful of senior games for the Goannas.

Prior to that, between 1974 and 1982, their father Gary Johns donned the black and gold uniform both on the field as a player and off the field as a coach.

Now, in 2018, the tradition continues but at a different club with 20-year-old Jack Johns featuring for Western Suburbs.

Jack – son of Matthew, nephew of Andrew and grandchild of Gary – has been named on the bench for the Rosellas ahead of Saturday’s clash with South Newcastle at Harker Oval. 

“The Johns family have a proud history in rugby league in this region,” Wests coach Matt Lantry said.

“And the best thing is, Jack is forging his own pathway.”

Jack debuted for the Rosellas last weekend, also coming on as a substitute, having arrived from the Knights under portability rules.

He originally looked to Central, but they didn’t have enough player points to accommodate him. Wests did.

“He’s a great pick up for us,” Lantry said.

“Regardless of whether it’s for a couple of games or the rest of the season.”

Souths are close to full strength with their Knights’ recruits available because NSW Cup have the bye. 

Elsewhere in round 11 and last-placed Cessnock are without suspended pair Kurt Warden and Paul Carter for Sunday’s encounter with Central at St John Oval.

Warden failed to have his seven-match ban for striking reduced at the Newcastle RL judiciary on Thursday night and will now miss at least the remainder of the regular season.

Carter awaits a response from governing body NSW Rugby League in regards to appealing his five-game penalty for offensive language.   

The Goannas pair will be joined on the sidelines by Royce Geoffrey (Achilles heel) and Blake Andrews (shoulder), injured last weekend and the latest to join the mounting casualty ward at the Coalfields club.

Opponents the Butcher Boys will debut Grant Anderson, brother of current first-grade winger Cameron, with Marcel Ikinofo out suspended after taking an early guilty plea this week for a low-grade charge for knee striking. Central are also down second-rower Shane Gray (shoulder). 

Over at Lyall Peacock Field on Saturday and defending champions Macquarie host ladder-leaders Maitland but the Scorpions are missing prop Adam Swadling, who had his reckless/careless high-tackle charge downgraded at the Newcastle RL judiciary on Thursday night meaning he is free to return next weekend.

And Lakes acquire Ben Talty back from Knights’ under-20 duties for Sunday’s meeting with Kurri Kurri at Cahill Oval on Sunday.      

All games kick-off at 3pm.