The Courier-Mail

Joey’s just a coun­try boy at heart

- NICK WALSHAW

AN­DREW Johns will be sounded out for the va­cant NSW Coun­try job, with of­fi­cials con­vinced the Im­mor­tal can help ig­nite the code’s new plans for bush football.

Johns is set to be cat­a­pulted into his first head coach­ing role from next year, join­ing fel­low league great and cur­rent City coach Brad Fit­tler.

While the NRL plans to scrap the an­nual Ori­gin trial by 2018 and in­stead take six NRL games to the bush each year, of­fi­cials hope the leg­endary pair­ing will cre­ate hype around the clash un­til then.

The move would also di­rectly ben­e­fit the NSW Ori­gin side, who have now lost nine of the past 10 in­ter­state se­ries to Queens­land.

Some of the game’s most promis­ing tal­ent, in­clud­ing Aaron Woods, Dave Klem­mer, Matt Moy­lan and Blake Austin, have cred­ited Fit­tler’s in­flu­ence dur­ing City/Coun­try week for their rapid rises in club land.

Even though Johns seems to have no de­signs on an NRL head coach­ing po­si­tion, the Coun­try job re­quires a one­week camp, which Fit­tler has ef­fec­tively made his own with City.

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