Oddball Footy History: Was Andrew Johns hammered when he hammered the Raiders?



Rugby league is a funny game. It’s also a crazy, strange, wonderful place full of forgotten memories and bizarre events.

Welcome to Oddball Footy History – Part Three.


It is March 1996 at the height of the Super League War. The new season is about to begin and the Super League-aligned clubs aren’t too happy they’ve been forced to go back and play in a combined competition with the ARL teams. The Brisbane Broncos were meant to host the Auckland Warriors in round one but only problem was – legal action was still before the courts.

The Warriors however saw an opportunity for an easy two competition points to start the year and sent a group of local Auckland A-Graders across the ditch. When the Broncos didn’t show up, Auckland claimed the points.


Ask Canberra legends Clinton Schifcofske, Simon Woolford or Alan Tongue about their trip to Newcastle in July of 2001. They probably don’t have too many nice to things to say about it. Why? Because future Immortal Andrew Johns absolutely destroyed the Green Machine in one of the great individual performances of the modern era. The man could not be stopped. He was untouchable.

Johns scored 34 points as the Knights trounced Canberra 54-26 with the halfback bagging four tries and nine goals.

Absolute carnage.

There’s also a story out there about that day that would make those Raiders players blush.

Apparently, Johns was still half cut when he took the field.

The Knights team were expected to be at Marathon Stadium by a certain time for a Sunday 2pm kickoff. But Johns wasn’t there. Newcastle coach Michael Hagan began to get nervous and the club sent a taxi to Joey’s house who supposedly fell into the cab and began getting changed into his gear. He made it, warmed up and ripped the hapless Raiders to shreds.

That’s Immortal status for you, right there!


Before he became a fearsome hard-running monster at the Balmain Tigers, Paul Sironen spent a year on a gridiron scholarship at the University of Hawaii with fellow Aussie and future St. Louis Cardinals defensive end Colin Scotts. As young footballers do, big ‘Siro’ enjoyed a beer. He also had a tendency to greet strangers by calling them ‘digger’. This may have got him in trouble with a few of the homies in America who could have misheard Sironen over the noise inside the bars and nightclubs.

If you have an obscure ODDBALL memory of the game, let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter @woodward_curtis or @the81stminute

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