Knights coach a top-line ed­u­ca­tor, ac­cord­ing to Joey

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

CHAM­PION half­back Andrew Johns has al­ready found Brian Smith’s coach­ing style dif­fer­ent to Michael H a g a n ’ s , b u t n o t nec­es­sar­ily worse.

Johns had played his past six sea­sons un­der Ha­gan at New­cas­tle, be­fore Ha­gan traded places with Smith at Par­ra­matta for the 2007 sea­son.

‘‘It’s been a dif­fer­ent (pre-sea­son) un­der the new coach. Not as in­tense as last year — es­pe­cially not with the vol­ume of run­ning,’’ Johns said yes­ter­day af­ter a com­pletely un­re­lated net ses­sion with the New South Wales cricket team.

‘‘We’re do­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent sort of stuff.

‘‘We haven’t done as much run­ning as last year, but a lot more con­tact work and wrestling and that sort of stuff.

‘‘He’s a great ed­u­ca­tor, Brian Smith. I don’t know about the other guys, but me per­son­ally, I’ve learned a whole lot more.

‘‘I’m not say­ing ei­ther (Ha­gan’s or Smith’s) way is right but I’m en­joy­ing it.’’

The 32-year-old has been plagued by in­jury in the past few sea­sons, of­ten be­fore or dur­ing the fi­nals se­ries.

‘‘The body feels OK. I had a mi­nor op­er­a­tion on the el­bow but it’s come back 100 per cent now,’’ Johns said.

‘‘So I’m look­ing for­ward to the start of the year.’’

The for­mer Kan­ga­roos and NSW skip­per i s signed with the Knights un­til the end of 2007, with an op­tion of con­tin­u­ing through to 2008, and main­tains he will not make any fur­ther de­ci­sion on his ca­reer un­til mid-2007.

‘‘I’m just try­ing to get through the off-sea­son at this stage,’’ he said.

Johns will mix foot­balls with cricket balls over the sum­mer, af­ter agree­ing to play two Twenty20 matches for the NSW Blues i n Jan­uary.

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