Kurt Gidley grateful for Andrew Johns’ words of widsom

Kurt Gidley has revealed his gratitude to Australian great Andrew Johns for helping him during the early stages of his professional career.

Johns was firmly established in the halves for Newcastle Knights, New South Wales and Australia when Gidley made his Knights bow in 2001, taking the fledgling player under his wing.

The now-retired 37-year-old, who went on to star for club, state and country in 16-year career as well, told the Golden Point Daily podcast how he remains grateful to Johns for giving up his own time to pass on his knowledge.

“I was never the most gifted player from a talent perspective,” former Warrington Wolves half-back Gidley told Sky Sports.

“I was a really hard training and had plenty of drive, determination and perseverance, but I think Joey (Johns) could see I was trying really hard and that I probably needed a little bit of help in ball skills and the ability to play at half or full-back.

“I’m so grateful he would pick up the phone and text me the night before that day off training – and it was meant to be a day off – and he’d be down the local park putting me through basically a one-on-one personal training session.

I guess he had an obsession to keep improving and become better than he was the previous week

Kurt Gidley on Andrew Johns

“It certainly helped so much with my game and he was a great player, a great mate and a great mentor.”

Johns, who also had a short spell at Warrington in the 2005 Super League season, is regarded as one of the greatest rugby league players of all time and is one of only 13 Australian players to be honoured as one of the sport’s Immortals.

Gidley was not the only beneficiary of the former international’s sessions in the park though, recalling how Johns would also spend hours on his own practising kicking and trying out new skills.

“On days off during the week when our training schedule would normally be set, Joey would go down the local park and do his own sessions with his hat set up and holding the footy a different way,” Gidley said.

“That’s how he learnt to do banana kicks and different passes. That wasn’t part of the training schedule, his coaches and trainers weren’t asking him to do that at that stage.

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