Andrew Johns called to help Ryles's Wests

Andrew Johns attends Wests' training session at Parrish Park. Picture: ROBERT PEET
Andrew Johns attends Wests' training session at Parrish Park. Picture: ROBERT PEET


When preparing your halves for a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash, who better to call on than the game's greatest ever halfback?

That's precisely what Wests coach Jason Ryles did on Thursday, summoning former NSW and Australian teammate and rugby league immortal Andrew Johns to Parrish Park for a playmaking crash-course with the club's halves.

Johns, who has most recently moulded Manly pair Daly Cherry-Evans and Keiran Foran into one if NRL's best combinations, said he was happy to spread the playmaking gospel, particularly as many in the game bemoan the lack of quality halves being produced at the grassroots.

"Everyone asks me about it, there's theories about mini league and that sort of thing but I haven't really got a theory," Johns said.

"It is a worry but I think the next generation will come through.

"There's a really good crop of young guys with Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses at the Tigers and young Mitch Cornish at Canberra. And they're all from NSW too, which is good.

"I think the game's gone back to suit the clever halves with the quicker rucks, so that's good to see."

As for the Wests crop, Johns was impressed with how quickly the likes of Nathan Dureau, Clint Wright and Brad Scott picked up his teachings.

"They were good. They were really receptive," Johns said.

"A lot of what we were doing was new but they picked it up really quickly which shows he's [Ryles] got some class players there."

There's been a no more impressive player than Dureau over the first half of the season and he hopes a Johns masterclass can take his game up a notch.

"You think you're doing some things right and he [Johns] just changes the way you hold your hands or your feet and makes a huge difference," Dureau said.

"Rylesy's put a lot of time in and he's obviously got a lot of connections, which is unbelievable for the club. Stuff like this is just unreal."

Dureau hopes to shrug off the lingering effects of a concussion suffered in Devils' victory over Collegians last week in time for the top of the table showdown with Helensburgh at Rex Jackson Oval on Saturday.

"Not too many people like playing up there but I really enjoy playing there," he said.

"It's always got a great atmosphere. Everyone's pumped and giving you a gob full all game but it's good to see the way they get behind their club."


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