Reds turn to League star for help




The Reds, desperate to turn their faltering season around, have turned to former National Rugby League (NRL) star Matthew Johns for help.

Johns turned up at the bottom-placed Reds’ training session on Monday to give some “advice” to the young halfbacks.

This follows after the Reds announced that Academy prop Ernest Skelton was called up to their travelling party of 23 for Friday’s Super 14 match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Skelton, 29, was called into the travelling party following shoulder injuries to regular props Greg Holmes and Ben Coutts.

The 112kg prop from the Wests club in Brisbane made his Queensland debut last year in a late season match against a Fiji Development XV and played for the Reds Academy in a s 26-23 victory over NSW ‘A’ at the weekend.

Reds Academy forward Geoff Abram will also make the trip to New Zealand as a standby for flank Tom McVerry, who injured an ankle in Saturday’s 26-20 loss to the Lions – a defeat which consigned the reds to last place on the standings.

A decision on McVerry will be made later in the week.

Wing Henry Veratau failed to recover sufficiently from a hip flexor strain and will remain behind. However utility back Peter Hynes has recovered from his troublesome ankle sprain and will make the trip.

The team leaves Brisbane on Tuesday and a final squad of 22 will be named later in the week.

But the big news is the arrival of Johns at Monday’s training run and comes after coach Eddie Jones’ extraordinary public outburst against his team – when he accused them of playing “dumb” rugby in giving up a 20-19 lead with five minutes to go against the Lions.

Johns, who acts as a halfback consultant to the Melbourne Storm as well as personal tutor to Storm’s Cooper Cronk, joined the Reds at the invitation of Jones.

Johns spent the entire morning at Ballymore.

Johns worked mainly with Berrick Barnes and Quade Cooper, the youthful fly-halves.

Cooper played at number 10 and Barnes at number 12 against the Lions.

Reds squad: Geoff Abram, Ole Avei, Berrick Barnes, Nic Berry, Rodney Blake, Mitch Chapman, Quade Cooper, David Croft, Charlie Fetoai, Will Genia, Sean Hardman, James Horwill, Herman Hunt, Peter Hynes, Lloyd Johansson, Tom McVerry, Ed O’Donoghue, John Roe (c), Ernest Skelton, Cameron Treloar, Ben Tune, Brando Va’alu, Andrew Walker


365 Digital

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