Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
South Sydney Rabbitohs player Jack Johns is the son of former Australian International Matthew Johns and the nephew of Immortal Andrew Johns.
He may be related to two of the greatest players of their generation, however it was another international halfback that Johns was mentored by during his time playing in the Sydney Shield with the Peninsula Seagulls, where he was coached by Craig Gower.
“Yeah playing under Gowie [Craig Gower] is one of the best experiences I’ve had in rugby league. He taught me so much about the game but also how to enjoy it and appreciate playing alongside your mates. He really looked after me, I was only 18 and playing with and against men was a new challenge that Gowie helped me overcome.” Johns told Everything Rugby League.
In 2017, Johns signed for the Newcastle Knights and played in their Under 20’s side and was selected to represent Italy at the Rugby League World Cup in the same year.
Unfortunately injury would rule him out for the rest of the tournament in the second half of the first game, but he enjoyed his World Cup experience nonetheless.
“Playing for Italy was one of the greatest honours of my career. Coming out of 20s it really surprised me to get a call from Cam Ciraldo.
“Unfortunately plenty of things went against the team and I (including Terry Campese tearing his calf) the day before the game but it just makes me want to do better.”
Looking towards the future, Johns is hoping to represent Italy at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, and would like to do so with someone he is very close with.
“I would love to play for Italy again, if selected. Also playing alongside my brother Cooper would be unreal.”
Johns is currently playing in the Canterbury Cup for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, primarily in the second-row, which over time has become his favoured position, despite having a history in the halves.
“I’ve been loving the challenge of the back row and feel more comfortable the more and more I play there. I’ve got my background in the halves and am always happy to fill in there from time to time.”
One person who has always been there for him is his father Matthew. Not only has he been a great rugby league mentor, but more importantly has ensured being a great father comes first when raising his two sons.
“Dads had plenty of influence on me and Cooper with our footy but his first priority has always to be a dad and that’s something us boys have always appreciated.”
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