Johnson sidesteps halfback question - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnson sidesteps halfback question

Wayne Heming 24/03/2011 05:06:06 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland's Dallas Johnson produced a neat sidestep when quizzed on Thursday whether the winner of Monday's halfback battle between Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston should wear the No.7 for Australia in April's Anzac Test.

After 157 games with Cronk at the Storm, lock Johnson is now playing with world class No.7 Thurston at the Cowboys.

Thurston has been Queensland's halfback for their record five straight State of Origin series wins, but Cronk replaced him in Australia's losing Four Nations squad late last year after Thurston required surgery.

Asked if the victor of the looming halfback battle at Dairy Farmers Stadium should get the Test jumper, Johnson smiled and said: "You should ask the selectors that."

It was a nice piece of footwork by the tireless lock who, after a stint with Catalan in English Super League, has slipped back into the NRL as though he never left, producing 82 tackles in his first two games.

Johnson has deliberately avoided contact with his former Melbourne teammates this week.

"I've been trying not to take any calls from the boys but I'm sure I've still got a lot of mates down there," he said.

"It's a strange feeling preparing to play a team who I was so passionate about, with whom I'm a life member and against so many players I played alongside."

Johnson knows a lot about his former teammates and how coach Craig Bellamy will prepare them, but doubts it will be any advantage unless the Cowboys aim up after last weekend's lacklustre loss to Newcastle.

"One thing I know is they'll be very well prepared. It will be very physical and they'll turn up ready to play with Craig coaching them," he said.

Johnson found reports Bellamy had labelled him an "angry man" amusing.

"He's throwing a few stones at glass houses because he's not the calmest man himself," laughed Johnson.

"All I know is I have to prepare the best I can. I'm playing for the Cowboys now and I want to play the bestI can for them."

Johnson warned the result could be ugly if the Cowboys fail to fix their attitude after conceding some soft tries to the Knights.

"It's a huge task, look at their form the last two weeks, they've been outstanding and I didn't expect anything less from them," he said.

"We've looked at the tape (of Newcastle) and we were poor, very poor.

"We just didn't turn up with the right attitude.

"Everyone knows what will happen if we don't turn up with the right attitude against Melbourne."

Johnson said PNG-born hooker James Segeyaro was in for a big night with his NRL debut.

"I can still remember my debut (against Cronulla in 2003) vividly," he said.

"It's a huge moment and a huge occasion in any young player's career.

"It's something to strive for your whole life and to finally get there, it's a huge moment for you and your family."

Segeyaro will be only the third PNG player after Bruce Mamando and Graham Appo to play NRL for North Queensland.

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