Matty Johns is usually the first to joke about what it's like living in the shadows of his little brother, Andrew.
Even ahead of his son Jack's upcoming NRL debut for South Sydney against Canberra on Saturday night, Matty has become the butt of the joke.
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An injury crisis for the Bunnies has presented an opportunity for Johns, the 22-year-old son of the Newcastle Knights legend.
James Roberts was booked in for surgery this week after being ruled out for the remainder of the season with a pectoral rupture.
Second-rower Ethan Lowe will also be sidelined for the remainder of the year after aggravating an old neck injury in Saturday's 20-18 loss to Newcastle.
Fellow forwards Tom Amone and Liam Knight are both sidelined and Braidon Burns (knee injury), Campbell Graham (facial fracture) and star fullback Latrell Mitchell (suspension) are also out for the clash against the Knights.
Souths hooker Damien Cook confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that the young Johns had been named in the Rabbitohs squad, before throwing his father Matty under the bus with a funny revelation.
“We are referring to him as Andrew Johns’ nephew, not Matty Johns’ son,” Cook jokingly said on The Big Sports Breakfast.
“He is like his old man. They are very similar.
Good luck to Jack Johns with his first grade selection 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/XpzTak6RWJ
— Bobby Bitola (@KnightkingYCBM) July 21, 2020
“He doesn’t shut up around training. He chimes in every conversation and hangs around groups and chimes in when he wants to.
“But he’s always got a funny story or just talks crap as well.”
Cook says Johns was buzzing when coach Wayne Bennett named him in the Rabbitohs' squad on Tuesday.
“He’s very excited,” Cook said.
“When Wayne named the 21 yesterday and he was one of them he got very excited and had a big smile on his face.
“He couldn’t really celebrate too much because we were in the middle of a meeting and Wayne just chucks it straight on you that’s how he does it.”
Cook backs Johns to make his mark
Johns has been named on the interchange bench and while he is adept at playing in the halves, the 22-year-old is set to replace Lowe as cover in the second row.
With no reserve grade competition going ahead because of coronavirus, Cook admits that it will be a huge challenge for Johns to step up to first grade.
However, the Origin hooker has praised the youngster's work ethic in training and backed him to make a name for himself in Lowe's absence.
“They (reserve grade players) have found it very hard day in and day out because they are not playing any footy.
“But he has been the best trainer against us for the reserve grade side so I am very happy that he is getting a chance.
“Ethan Lowe is out for the year so there is a back row spot up for grabs and because he is playing in the halves as well any time there will help him as a back-rower and with Cody Walker they can form a very good combination there.”