Cowboys would look at Johnson: coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys would look at Johnson: coach

By Laine Clark 28/07/2010 02:55:20 PM Comments (0)

Officially, North Queensland aren't commenting on ex-Queensland Origin lock Dallas Johnson - but that has not stopped Cowboys coach Neil Henry expressing his interest.

Whispers about Johnson returning from the UK have now become deafening but Cowboys boss Peter Parr has remained silent, content to stick to a "no comment" approach.

But Henry gave Cowboys fans hope when he said the club would "certainly" look at the north Queensland product if the fearless lock became available.

Everything hinges on Johnson being released from the final two years of his contract with France-based UK Super League cellar dwellers Les Catalans Dragons.

However, Henry sounded hopeful.

"There's been talk about him but I can't really talk about that. He's still contracted to Catalans," Henry told reporters.

"If he wished to come home - and there has been some early releases from contracts - we'd certainly look at him because he's a north Queensland boy."

Johnson, 27, this year started a three-season deal with the Dragons.

But it is understood Johnson is homesick, and wants to return where it all started for the tackling machine - north Queensland.

Born in Atherton near Cairns, Johnson began playing junior league for the Herberton Magpies in far north Queensland.

He would be an ideal replacement for ex-Test backrower Luke O'Donnell who coincidentally will be leaving for the Super League next year.

"I have no comment on Dallas Johnson," Parr said.

"We are obviously trying to add to our forward pack at the moment - we are comfortable with where we are at with our backline.

"We understand people are interested and want to know what is happening but we are not in a position to comment."

The Cowboys need to bolster their overall pack with Steve Rapira (New Zealand), Anthony Watts (Roosters), Manase Manuokafoa (Eels) and Antonio Kaufusi (Newcastle) all leaving at season's end.

And question marks remain over Carl Webb, Steve Southern and former international Willie Mason.

Mason has impressed in his year up north but negotiations may be tricky due to the fact the barnstorming backrower's agent Greg Keenan is not accredited by the NRL.

Asked if Keenan's situation would make Mason talks difficult, Parr said: "It might do if we decide to offer him a contract but that decision hasn't been made yet."

The Cowboys' backline is looking impressive with Brent Tate, Antonio Winterstein and Arana Taumata complementing the likes of Willie Tonga and Johnathan Thurston.

As a result, Henry said off-contract players like ex-Queensland winger Ty Williams, John Williams and pivot Grant Rovelli would need to make the most of the season's final six weeks.

"We're still in the market for a couple of key signings and we have recruited outside backs with (Kalifa) Fai-Fai Loa and (Brent) Tate and (Antonio) Winterstein, but you never say no (to re-signing off-contract players)," Henry said.

Meanwhile, Warriors-bound Rapira may have played his final game for the Cowboys due to a groin complaint.

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