FANS: Neville Clifford and Travis Hall meet Andrew Johns at Charlestown.EVERYONE has a take on Joey.
Nanjing Night Net

If you ask in Newcastle, he’s either saviour of the city or worse than whatever the bad bits are in The Human Centipede II.

We don’t know. The closest we’d been to Joey was almost running a boogie board into him once at Merewether.

That was until yesterday, when he did a Q and A with some kids.

It was a photo op to promote the new Nike store at Charlestown Square, and the kids were Central Charlestown junior rugby league players ranging from tweens to teens.

Framed by fluoro sneakers and inspected by young faces, Johns was something he never quite seems on TV. Comfortable.

You can see why NRL teams prize him as a consultant because he is, clearly, a gifted teacher.

To this captive audience with its questions, he made the sublime sound possible.

How do you do a chip and chase? one boy asked.

‘‘Kick it about as high as this roof,’’ Johns said, pointing to the shop’s low ceiling.

‘‘High enough so you can get it back, but not so high the fullback can catch it on the full.’’

How do you stay motivated for training?

‘‘You’ve gotta enjoy it,’’ was the almost wistful reply.

‘‘As long as you’re having fun, I think that’s the key.’’

It was easy to forget, for a moment, how jaded some in this town are about Joey.

Instead, we got to see a man who remembered being a kid, who’d loved throwing the ball around in the park.