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Melbourne Storm and Johns part ways
By Roger Vaughan
19:33 AEST Wed May 13 2009
Matthew Johns
The Melbourne Storm and part-time assistant coach Matthew Johns have parted ways indefinitely.

The Melbourne Storm and Matthew Johns have parted ways indefinitely, with chief executive Brian Waldron declaring the club had to take "strong positions".

Johns was a part-time assistant coach at the Storm and Waldron said the former Test star had visited the club only twice since Christmas.

Melbourne originally said on Tuesday that Johns would stay on the coaching staff after the ABC's Four Corners program aired allegations about his involvement in a 2002 group sex incident while playing for Cronulla.

But that changed after Waldron spoke on Wednesday morning with the former player's management.

Waldron added the Storm made their decision separately to Johns indefinitely standing down from his on-air commitments at Channel Nine.

"We really hadn't had a chance to talk to Matthew or his representatives until this morning," Waldron said.

"We're a fairly minor player in his life, to be honest, but at this stage we just need to get some space between ourselves and him, we think that's the most appropriate thing to do for him and the game and for the club in general.

"We had some very strong positions that we believe we need to take as a club and they (Johns' management) support that.

"Likewise, there are some very disturbing issues in Matthew's life that he needs to address and some very sad issues for all involved in this whole issue of respect for women."

Waldron said the team watched a recording of the Four Corners program on Monday night that shamed Johns.

The Storm watched the program at their hotel after they beat the Sydney Roosters in Gosford.

"I can guarantee you, they were gravely concerned by the outcome and what they saw," Waldron said.

Waldron added Storm coach Craig Bellamy had spoken to Johns.

The chief executive would not comment on how long Johns would be away from the club or if he might return, saying there were far more important issues for the ex-player to address.

Waldron added that the issue of respect for women was not restricted to league.

"You don't want to tar all individuals with the same brush and you don't want to tar this code any differently to other codes - it's an issue in society and it's an issue in our game that's come to rear its head in the last 72 hours," Waldron said.

"But it's something that's being addressed full-on."

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