Joey Johns back to help Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Joey Johns back to help Eels

By Todd Balym And David Beniuk 03/10/2009 12:09:04 PM Comments (0)

Eight years ago Andrew Johns drove a stake through Parramatta hearts by leading Newcastle to the 2001 NRL premiership over the highly-fancied Eels side.

If Parramatta's heartache ends with the 2009 premiership on Sunday against Melbourne, then it will be Johns who the Eels faithful can thank.

The former Test champion and halfback of the century has been praised as the man who turned young halfback Jeff Robson's career around.

Robson, the club's third-choice No.7 at the start of the season, has been magnificent in Parramatta's run to the grand final and will need to be at his best again if the Eels are to upset Melbourne.

While there is no guarantee Robson will even be wearing blue and gold next season, the young halfback wants it known that he wouldn't be where he is without the tutelage of Johns at Eels training sessions.

"He's been great, he's helped my game a lot this year with my kicking and passing and knowing when to run, he's been outstanding," said Robson.

"I think he's been the reason why I've been playing a lot better this season.

"I always thought I was good enough to play at the top level and I just thought that I needed a few games back to back to build the confidence and get used to the game and I just wasn't able to do that.

"At Manly, I had good players in front of me and just couldn't get the opportunity to get those games back to back. Once I did that, that's when I felt more comfortable, more confident.

"Once I was given the opportunity to have another crack at it in consecutive games back to back, build the confidence, after that I started moving forward so it was good."

If the Eels are to win, Robson would join Brett Seymour as one of the competition's lesser-known premiership-winning halfbacks, after Seymour helped the Broncos to the 2006 win over Melbourne.

Robson said he isn't at all concerned with claims you can't win the NRL title without a big-name No.7.

"It doesn't really worry me, I'm a pretty casual bloke so I don't really look at statistics and stuff like that but I saw that in the paper the other week and I was having a bit of a laugh about that," said Robson.

"(Five-eighth Daniel Mortimer) Morts and myself gel well together and we've been playing some pretty good footy together over the past few weeks and I think if we can do that and control our team like we have been, I think we'll go very well."

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