Calls strengthen for Andrew Johns statue after Storm announcement

Matt Buxton

The Andrew Johns Statue Supporters Group are scratching their heads after it was revealed that Cameron Smith and Billy Slater will have statues built of them at AAMI Park in 2020.

Given Johns is the Halfback of the Century with Immortal status that many consider to be the greatest to lace up a boot, the group have campaigned for a statue to be made in his honour since last year.

It has gained plenty of traction with backing from former greats Danny Buderus, Nathan Hindmarsh, Wendell Sailor and Willie Mason, as well as Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Newcastle Knights CEO Philip Gardner.

“There’s no denying a statue of Andrew would be a terrific addition to McDonald Jones Stadium,” Gardner said.

Considering Smith is still an active player and Slater has only been retired for 18 months, it adds weight to the case of the eighth Immortal.

“Joey hung up the boots more than a decade ago and the people of the Hunter are still waiting for a fitting tribute to the greatest Rugby League player of all time, who was one of our own,” group organise Andrew Hughes said.

“Billy Slater will have the northern stand at AAMI Park named after him as well as a statue, that is an honour also entirely befitting a boy from Cessnock who was named Halfback of the Century.

“Grandstands come and go, but bronze is forever.”

The group are calling on supporter to get behind the campaign by following the official Andrew Johns Statue Supporters page.