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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