FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
29 mins ago
The only person standing in the way of Andrew Johns making a return to State of Origin appears to be the man himself with Newcastle coach Brian Smith giving the comeback his blessing.
Smith says he would never stand in the way of any player wanting to play Origin football, but claimed it was up to Johns to put the form on the board. Smith's backing follows similar sentiments from Knights board member Paul Harragon, while NSW coach Graham Murray has stated he would welcome Johns back into the fold for this year's series.
He would still need permission from the ARL to rescind his representative retirement, but it is unlikely the governing body would stand in his way. Johns says he wants to see how his form is before making a decision on making himself available for the Blues.
He has been named to make his return for the Knights in Monday night's clash against Canberra.
Meanwhile, Australian captain Darren Lockyer says he would welcome Andrew Johns back to State of Origin but warns it could set a dangerous precedent if the champion Newcastle half is exempt from playing in next month's Test against New Zealand.
Johns is contemplating making himself available again for NSW, having quit representative football before last year's interstate series. Under ARL rules, players are required to make themselves available for all representative matches unless given a dispensation.
It's a repeat of a similar incident last year when former Manly lock Ben Kennedy was allowed to come out of representative retirement to play in the Anzac Test against New Zealand.