Mullen says Johns has erased self-doubts - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mullen says Johns has erased self-doubts

Ben Horne 21/03/2011 06:02:03 PM Comments (0)

Jarrod Mullen has credited Matthew Johns for erasing his self-doubt as the Newcastle halfback strives to force his way back into NSW Origin contention.

Mullen revealed his confidence levels have improved dramatically since the Knights champion started working with him during the NRL pre-season.

While the now media personality doesn't want to claim credit for the club's undefeated start to the season, Mullen sees Johns responsible for setting him back on the right path after years of inconsistency.

Mullen, who is in doubt for Sunday's match against Manly with a sternum problem, has been one of the competition's stand-out players to start 2011.

His pin-point kicking game has collected a pair of man-of-the-match awards and guided the Knights to two impressive away wins.

Andrew Johns' replacement in Newcastle's coveted No.7 jersey back in 2007, Mullen admits he struggled to cope with the pressure of maturing from young gun to consistent first grader.

While Andrew shaped many of Mullen's brilliant skills, it's been Matthew Johns who has strengthened the playmaker's mind.

"He's just simplified my game and put a lot of things in perspective, just highlighting stuff he thinks are my strengths and getting me to stick to them," said Mullen, who is a 50/50 chance of facing the Sea Eagles.

"He's got me away from all the self-doubts ... he's taking that out of my mind and putting my game in perspective.

"I'll play without self-doubt now I know I can do it."

Mullen was thrown in the deep end for his Origin debut in 2007 and hasn't been selected since.

However, he now believes he's ready for the step-up, whether that's in Mitchell Pearce's place at halfback, or alongside the Roosters' No.7 at five-eighth.

Mullen already knows he has the support of new Blues coach, Ricky Stuart.

"He had a couple of chats to me (in the pre-season Blues in Waiting camp) and said he believes I can get back there as well. For an Origin coachto believe in you ... it gives you a lot of confidence," he said.

"I think I'm a lot more equipped now.

"Pearcey's doing a great job but I've just got to keep putting my hand up every week and really push my name forward."

Mullen said the challenge of following one of the greatest players of all time got the better of him at the Knights.

But the Singleton-born local junior declared he's ready to take ownership of the team and in the process reignite his representative ambitions.

"You learn more as you get older," said Mullen, who won't be rushed back to face Manly in Gosford, even if captain Kurt Gidley fails to recover from a back injury.

"I can't be another Andrew Johns, I've just got to go out there and be myself and play my own game and it took me a while to realise that."

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