The saying goes ‘ A picture is worth a thousand words’, and for Knights fans, this rings true, as they get to see one of their favourite sons return to the foray at the club, as a consultant coach.

That man, is one Matthew Johns.

In what is sure to add enthusiasm to the Knights group, Johns has said that he is looking forward to his new role, and is delighted to be back at the place where his career took off.

‘I really enjoyed it,” Johns said.

”The first session up there I just had a look at the team. I didn’t have much to say to the side at all tactically. For the first few sessions I just want to go around and see how they’re doing things and go from there.

”It’s a satisfying thing, it’s great. The Newcastle club have always been great to me. I was holding the stop-go sign working for Cessnock City Council [before coming through]. I didn’t see a big future in that. When people asked me what I did, I told them I was in traffic control.”

Johns is in charge of mentoring Knights players such as Jarrod Mullen, Ben Rogers, Kurt Gidley on occasions, as well as young guns Beau Henry and Tyrone Roberts.

Myself and [brother] Andrew were incredibly lucky coming through at Newcastle – it was a matter of the right place at the right time.

”There were some really top-notch educators there to give you a strong football education, none more so than Alan Bell. Belly continues to do a bit of work with Tim Sheens whenever Sheensy needs a hand and he was involved with Newcastle for years [and] Warren Ryan way back in the day. Belly was an encyclopaedia. Every day he would sit with myself and Andrew and teach us, show us things.

”You’ve got a moral obligation not to sit on that education and do nothing with it. You’ve owe it to blokes like Allan Bell, who did it for you, to go and help others out.”

For Knights captain Kurt Gidley, he is over the moon to have Johns on board at the club.

”It’s great to have a former player of Matty’s calibre involved with the club in a coaching position,” he said.

”From our fullbacks to our front-rowers, I think we will all benefit from his knowledge of the game.”

Whilst he does not want to single out certain players that need improvement, Johns admits that the Knights are a team on the rise, and he is enjoying being a part of it.

”All I’ll say about Newcastle is that they’ve had a tough few years but there are signs that there is a good crop of players coming through,” he said.

”We’re very similar to sides like Canberra – a good, young squad are about to come out of a few lean years.”

Keith Onslow was the man responsible for getting Johns back at the Knights, and not for the first time either.

”I have to give a rap to Keith Onslow, the bloke who got me there,” Johns said.

”Keith was the bloke who found me when I was playing in a second-division team in the under-16s at Cessnock.

”He identified me and brought me into the Knights system. Without him giving me a chance, I might still be working traffic control at Cessnock.

”When he rings and asks me to get involved, I’m in no position to say no.”

By ricky

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