This off-season’s number one topic has been the Andrew Johns statue outside McDonald Jones Stadium, or Marathon as I will always call it.
Anyway, he damn well deserves it.
We’re not just talking about the greatest player of all time here. He was the key element in both Knights premierships, from playing in the 1997 grand final and setting up the match-winner to being their skipper in 2001.
Sure, when some people think of Andrew Johns, they bring up some of his off-field indiscretions. But many players with less than perfect rap sheets away from the game have been honoured in similar ways to a statue.
Andrew Johns may not have been a saint off the field, but on the field, he was a leader and a masterpiece.
He knew how to score tries, he knew how to set them up and his defensive ethic was relentless. From the time Paul Harragon retired to Johns’ own retirement, he was the heart and soul of the Newcastle Knights.
We all remember his return to State of Origin in 2005. He tore the Queenslanders to shreds in both the second and third games for the Blues to steal the series after falling in golden point in the series opener.
I will give him more credit as he fought his demons to play on the field and make a huge difference for the Knights.
Despite an injury-riddled career, he truly revolutionised the game like no other player ever had or ever will.
Johns is a true icon like no other and his Immortal status was well deserved when he earned it in 2012.
Everyone is on board for this – and not just Knights fans, players and even the retired legends. Fans, players and legends from other clubs are all for it.