It was nearly 20 years ago that Andrew Johns took a premiership out of Parramatta’s hands – now the rugby league great is on the Eels side to help end their agonising wait for a title.
The eighth Immortal Andrew Johns famously cost the Parramatta Eels the 2001 NRL premiership in a grand final boilover.
Now he’s been given the daunting task of helping to win the title that has eluded the club for 33 years.
Johns started work on Tuesday as a specialist halves mentor, hired by Parramatta coach Brad Arthur to help take Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown to the next level and work with younger emerging players.
It was a huge day for the Eels with Johns starting work and Brown signing a new three-year, $2 million contract extension, rejecting interest from at least half a dozen clubs.
The Wests Tigers, Canterbury Bulldogs and New Zealand Warriors were desperately keen.
Johns will have the job of mentoring the boom 19-year-old five-eighth from this point.
“Joey’s played and excelled at the highest level and I’m hoping he’ll develop our spine and take them to the next level,” Arthur told The Daily Telegraph.
“We didn’t want to overload our younger players like Dylan and Reed Mahoney last year. Mitchy (Moses) and Gutho (Gutherson) are now around the representative scene.
“I’m sure Joey can fine-tune them and work on some areas to take them the next step.”
Arthur previously worked with Johns at Manly under Geoff Toovey.
Arthur was defence coach and Johns the halves tutor for Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran.
“I really enjoy working with the guy,” Arthur said.
“We’ve spoken a lot throughout my coaching career. He’d often ring with ideas he thought we could work on and trends in the game.
“We’ve always kept in contact. The boys will love having him around the place.”
Arthur is delighted to have Brown locked in long term.
“Dylan’s a really good kid who has come through our juniors” Arthur said, “He’s best football is still well and truly down the track.
“Joey will help him to play with control and perform week in, week out.”
Johns told he was looking forward to being part of Parramatta’s title campaign.
“I’m really excited to be working with thee halves,” Johns said.
“Both have got incredible talent. I thought Mitchell was outstanding last year and Dylan is showing all the signs of being a long term success story.”