Newcastle have confirmed that former player and current television personality Matthew Johns has joined the club in a coaching role.
Johns, 39, will take up a specialist role working with the Knights’ halfbacks, hookers and fullbacks after agreeing to join coach Rick Stone’s back-up staff.
Johns, who also played for Cronulla and Wigan, shot to fame with Channel 9 following the conclusion of his playing days as a panel member in the highly successful ‘Footy Show’ series.
However in 2009 Johns was sacked, after being identified as a member of the Cronulla squad that was involved in allegations of a group sex scandal with a 19-year-old woman in New Zealand.
He was also released from his capacity as coaching assistant with Melbourne.
Despite an investigation by police into the incident, no charges were laid against any members of the squad.
Johns meanwhile, has since re-kindled his career with his own NRL talkshow on rival broadcaster Channel Seven.
The club said Knights Strategic Development Manager Keith Onslow was key in bringing Johns back to the club.
“Matthew has always had a keen interest in coaching and development, especially in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region,” Mr Onslow said.
“During a phone conversation with Matt last week we discussed what his commitments for the 2011 season were, when he suggested he might have some spare time on his hands we tossed around a couple of ideas before I said I’ll call you back in an hour.
“After conversations with Club Chairman Rob Tew and Coach Rick Stone the wheels were set in motion for Matt’s return to the club.
“Matt will work with Knights NRL players once a week along with some specialist development coaching with our Talent Identified Junior program, creating a wonderful learning environment for these youngsters to enjoy his vast knowledge and experience in rugby league.”