|Johns in October 2008|
27 July 1971 |
Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|1995–98||New South Wales||4||0||0||0||0|
|Source: Rugby League Project and Yesterday's Hero|
Matthew Johns (born 27 July 1971 in Cessnock, New South Wales) is an Australian rugby league football commentator and former professional player. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative five-eighth, Johns played his club football primarily with the Newcastle Knights, alongside his younger brother, Andrew Johns. Since March 2011, Johns has been a co-host on the Triple M Sydney breakfast show called The Grill Team with Mark Geyer. Since 2012, Johns has been a part of the Fox Sports NRL coverage. He also had his own show for one season, The Matty Johns Show.
Rugby League career
Matthew Johns is the eldest son of coal miner and country rugby league player Gary Johns and his wife Gayle. After playing junior rugby league in Cessnock, he joined the Newcastle Knights in 1991.
He played as five-eighth for the Knights, playing outside his younger brother Andrew Johns at halfback for nine seasons. Johns was part of the Australian squad that won the 1995 Rugby League World Cup, and went on to play eight matches for his country. He also played four State of Origin series matches for New South Wales. Another highlight of his career with the Knights was the 1997 Australian Rugby League grand final victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Johns was selected for the Australian team to compete in the end of season 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against New Zealand he played at five-eighth and scored a try in the Kangaroos' 22-20 victory.
Salary cap problems led to Johns leaving the Knights and Australia at the end of 2000 to play a season with the UK based Super League club the Wigan Warriors. He considered playing for Wales at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup due to his Welsh heritage. Johns played for the Wigan Warriors at five-eighth in their 2001 Super League Grand Final loss against the Bradford Bulls.
2002 NZ tour sexual assault investigation
While on a pre-season tour of New Zealand in February 2002, Johns and 11 other unnamed members of the Cronulla Sharks were involved in a group sex session with a 19-year-old in a Christchurch hotel room. Following an allegation of sexual assault from the woman five days later, police investigated the incident both in New Zealand and Australia but did not lay any charges.
Seven years later the ABC TV Four Corners program "Code of Silence", broadcast on 11 May 2009, reported on the incident. Although Four Corners spoke to Johns about the incident, he declined to give an on-camera interview for the program. The alleged victim (known by the pseudonym "Clare") stated that she had returned to room 21 of the Racecourse Hotel with Johns and another player, and that when one of them began to kiss her without her consent, she felt socially awkward objecting to the unwanted advance; which eventually led to sex. Ten or more rugby league players and staff arrived over the course of two hours, and presumed consent to participate.
Johns admitted to taking part but stated that the act was consensual. In May 2009, Johns agreed to be interviewed by the Nine Network to give his viewpoint of the incident, saying it had been painful for his family and regretted what happened. He stated that he had been apprehensive about the consequences of the incident for seven years. Brett Firman stated that "she was up for it a hundred per cent." It is implied that Firman and Johns took her to the hotel as they stated that they were the first to have sex with her.
Following the incident, the young woman was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and attempted suicide a number of times. She has been receiving financial support and counselling from the New Zealand Government. Nevertheless, a former colleague stated that, shortly after the incident, the woman boasted about having sex with several players. In response, a statement released by Four Corners related how the New Zealand police "... noted that some comments she made suggesting she was not distressed were a mechanism for coping with what had happened." Detective Superintendent Neville Jenkins described Clare as naive, young for her age and "...just a growing up teenager."
Subsequent to the Four Corners program, Johns was stood down by Channel Nine from his role as rugby league commentator and co-host of The Footy Show. The Melbourne Storm also took the step of releasing Johns indefinitely as an assistant coach.
Matthew Johns' first foray into entertainment began in 1999 when he adopted the persona of Reg Reagan in a low-budget film, In Search of the Holy Grail, which appeared at the Newcastle Film Festival. The film also starred fellow Knights players Andrew Johns, Matthew Gidley and Robbie O'Davis. The Nine Network showed excerpts of the film on The Footy Show.
The Reg Reagan character was developed further in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2000 where Johns described the character as a late 1970s Australian (or ocker) who smoked only Winfield Reds and drank KB beer. Fans of Johns' new side Cronulla started wearing copies of the T-shirt worn by Reagan, with the slogan "Bring Back the Biff", to games.
In 2002, Johns became a regular on The Footy Show with Reagan and a new character, Trent, a gay flight attendant from San Francisco. After his retirement as a player, Johns signed deals with the Nine Network and Sony Music Entertainment. He appeared on The Footy Show and as a commentator on Nine's broadcasts of rugby league matches. He has recorded a DVD titled "All of Me", released in June 2004, featuring skits by Reg Reagan and Trent the flight attendant. Since then he has released a follow up entitled "Blood, Sweat and Beers" and also features on The Footy Show's 'Best Of' DVD collection from 1994-2002.
In 2004, as Reg Reagan, Johns recorded a song called "Am I Ever Gonna See the Biff Again?" sung to the tune of The Angels' 1977 hit "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?". The song is a humorous lamentation of the decline of onfield violence in professional rugby league.
Johns was indefinitely stood down from his position on the Nine Network in May 2009 after the airing of the Four Corners program. He was subsequently replaced by Phil Gould. He was asked by Channel 9 to make a comeback to commentary later in the season but Johns declined.
In 2010, Johns signed with rival network Channel Seven and launched a new family-friendly, NRL/entertainment show on Thursday, 25 March at 7:30pm in NSW and Queensland. After one season, the show was discontinued.
In 2012, it was announced that Johns joined Fox Sports (Australia) as part of the Rugby League coverage. He is the host of his own show "Monday Night with Matty Johns", which airs on Fox Sports 1 straight after the Monday Night Football game.
Matthew Johns' first film appearance was in Footy Legends where he appeared as himself. The film was directed by Khoa Do, and released on 3 August 2006. In 2007 The Final Winter presented Johns in his first feature film acting role where he starred as 'Jack', the 1980s coach of the Newtown Jets.
Johns joined Triple M Sydney's breakfast show The Grill Team in March 2011, introducing a number of character impersonations including "Bruce", the effeminate producer for Triple M's sister station 2DayFM's breakfast team Kyle and Jackie O; the crude coal-mining magnate (and owner of the Newcastle Knights) Nathan Tinkler; and the rugby league greats Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and Darren Lockyer as the "Future Immortals Gone Nuts".
- In Search of the Holy Grail (1999)
- The Footy Show (co-host, 2000's)
- All of Me (DVD, 2004)
- Blood, Sweat and Beers (DVD, 2005)
- Footy Legends (2006)
- The Final Winter (2007)
- Matty Johns Show (host, 2010)
- Fox Sports Rugby League Coverage (host of Monday Night Football, 2012–present)
- Am I Ever Gonna See the Biff Again? (2004) AUS#11
- Rugby League Outlaw (2005)
- Video Killed The Football Star (2008)
- "Wales launch Johns bid". BBC. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
- Greg Prichard (27 October 2002). "No regrets: injured Johns calls it quits". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- Barrett, Rebecca (8 May 2009). "Matthew Johns in group sex scandal". ABC News. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Ferguson, Sarah (11 May 2009). "Code of Silence". Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Code of Silence". Four Corners. 11 May 2009.
- "Woman tells of Matthew Johns incident". The Herald. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- "Christchurch police to question Sharks". The New Zealand Herald. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- Ferguson, Sarah (19 May 2009). "Code of Silence - statement". Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- Four Corners - 11/05/2009: Program Transcript
- Ritchie, Dean (8 May 2009). "Matthew Johns expresses regret over 'group sex' incident". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- Meade, Amanda (14 May 2009). "I've waited seven years for call: Matthew Johns". The Australian.
- "Matthew Johns responds to sex allegation". Radio New Zealand News. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- "Friend says 'Clare' bragged about Sharks sex romp". League HQ. 14 May 2009. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- Honeysett, Stuart (20 May 2009). "Matthew Johns to consider legal avenues". The Australian. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Matthew Johns stood down by Melbourne Storm and Channel Nine". The Herald Sun (Sydney). 12 May 2009. Archived from the original on 16 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- Vaughan, Robert (13 May 2009). "Melbourne Storm and Johns part ways". ninemsn.com. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- "Matthew Johns stood down indefinitely by Channel Nine, Melbourne Storm". Fox Sports News (Australia). 13 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- Idato, Michael (29 September 2004). "Sentimental bloke". smh.com.au. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- McWhirter, Erin (14 May 2009). "Channel Nine league expert Phil Gould replaces Matthew Johns on Footy Show". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Johns rejects a return to Nine | thetelegraph.com.au
- Toohey, Barry (6 December 2009). "Johns too busy to help out Loz". The Sunday Telegraph (Australia: Herald and Weekly Times). Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- "Matty Johns Show to premiere on Seven on March 25". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 March 2010.
- "It's a whole new ball game as Fox signs Matthew Johns". Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Reagan, Reg (1 August 2004). This is My Life. Macmillan Australia. ISBN 978-1-4050-3609-2.
- "From running on rugby league fields to acting on the Hollywood big screen". Fox Sports. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- "Matty Johns for radio revival". news.com.au. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2009.