Johns’ son signs boom NRL deal
Matthew Johns' teenage son Cooper has been promoted onto the Melbourne Storm's senior squad in a move that would allow him to make his NRL debut immediately.
The 19-year-old playmaker was on Wednesday one of two talents promoted from the Storm's junior system into the team's top-30 NRL squad.
Cooper Johns has been playing in the Storm's Queensland Cup feeder team, Sunshine Coast Falcons, this season and has finally done enough to convince Storm coach Craig Bellamy he is the real deal.
Johns' promotion into the senior squad piles the pressure on halfback Brodie Croft after Bellamy admitted at the start of the year that he was unsure if Croft, Johns or Ryley Jacks was the best option for the No. 7 Melbourne jumper.
It has been a rapid rise for Johns' second eldest son. He began the 2018 season still playing in the national U20s competition before earning a call-up to play against bigger bodies in the Queensland Cup.
Now, he is on the verge of an NRL call-up.
The Storm have not yet announced the length of Cooper Johns' new deal. The teenage freak had been about to come off contract at the end of 2019. He signed a two-year development deal with the Storm, beginning at the start of the 2018 season.
Bellamy said in February he'd been impressed by Johns.
"Cooper's gone really well in our halves during the pre-season," Bellamy said.
"He's got a lot of talent and a lot of skill and know-how about the game which is no surprise given the bloodline he's come from.
"He's really improved physically this year with his speed and his physical presence and we think at some stage he's going to be a first-grader."
Johns' eldest son Jack, 21, made the move from Newcastle to South Sydney before the 2019 season and has been playing for the Bunnies in the NSW Cup.
Meanwhile, the Storm earlier this week also signed rising star hooker Harry Grant to a promoted senior squad position.
The 21-year-old is now in a race with boom Storm talent Brandon Smith for Cameron Smith's No. 9 jumper, whenever the club legend decides to hang up his boots.
Grant was the club's U20s player of the year in 2017 and made his NRL debut last year, but Bellamy hasn't been able to find a position for him in the club's best 17.