Warrington confirm Johns coup

Last updated at 12:22 03 August 2005


Warrington have confirmed the signing of Australian star Andrew Johns on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Johns, widely recognised as the best player in the world, has been given permission by Newcastle Knights to join the Wolves in September.

The 31-year-old will make his Wolves debut against Leeds on September 11 and will stay with the club until the end of the season.

Warrington hope the sensational capture of Johns can propel them to a place in the Super League Grand Final.

Johns said: "I have always harboured ambitions to play in big games and they don't get bigger than a Super League Grand Final.

"I hope I can help the side in the semi-finals and we have got a good chance. I want to help Warrington win the Grand Final."

Johns has been a consistently excellent performer in Australia's NRL competition and State of Origin over the past decade. He is the only player to have won the Golden Boot as the world's most outstanding player twice.

He has been limited to 18 Test caps due to a succession of injuries in recent years but he had been expected to play for Australia in this season's Gillette Tri-Nations Series.

There is a potential problem, however, as the first game of the series against New Zealand on October 15 clashes with the Super League Grand Final but Johns is not worrying about that yet.

He said: "There are a lot of ifs and buts. This is just hypothetical at the moment. We will cross that bridge when we come to it."

Wolves centre Martin Gleeson is excited by the thought of linking up with the Australian star.

Johns has been a consistently outstanding performer in Australia's NRL competition and State of Origin for a decade and Gleeson is relishing the chance to play alongside him.

The Great Britain international said: "It's absolutely brilliant. I'm really looking forward to it, Andrew is a class player.

"He's just going to bring so much to the team. He makes so many runs and I'll hope to run off him.

"When I first heard I thought it was madness. I thought, 'are you pulling my leg?' But then the coach told me we were signing him and I thought it was great news.

"If you want one player in the world, who do you want? It's him isn't it?"

Johns has endured three injury-plagued seasons but has been at his magical best since returning to action midway through the current campaign.

His signing transforms Warrington, currently fourth in the table, from an outside bet for the play-offs to serious Grand Final contenders.

He is likely to make his Wolves debut against Leeds on September 11 and Gleeson firmly believes he can guide them through to Old Trafford.

"If anyone can he can," said Gleeson. "It'll be a great experience. Training will just lift and he will have so much input. We'll just learn a lot off him I think."

Gleeson accepts that by offering Johns the chance to play in Britain, he may be even more dangerous come the Gillette Tri-Nations Series - if Australia break from their usual norm and select a player playing outside the country - but that is not an overriding concern.

He said: "Obviously he's going to keep playing and keep his fitness up but I'm just looking forward to playing with a player like that. It can only make me a better player."

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