Danny Buderus (centre) has joined the push for a statue of his great mate Andrew Johns (left). Picture: Phil Hillyard
Danny Buderus (centre) has joined the push for a statue of his great mate Andrew Johns (left). Picture: Phil Hillyard

Greats demand end to Joey statue shame

Danny Buderus predicts the bloke who slept on his couch over the weekend will be bronzed in 2020, saying: "Absolutely Joey should get a statue … and I don't think fans will rest until he has one".

Despite starting as on online Twitter campaign, the push for a statue of Newcastle's champion No.7 Andrew Johns gained serious support over the weekend at the annual Legends of League event.

Headed by hardcore Knights fan Karlo Tychsen, the 'Bronze for Johns' push now counts among its heavyweight backers a host of Kangaroo greats including Buderus, Nathan Hindmarsh, Wendell Sailor and Willie Mason.

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The Daily Telegraph also spoke with Newcastle officials who revealed they would investigate - and almost certainly, support - the move to have a bust of rugby league's eighth Immortal outside McDonald Jones Stadium.

 

Danny Buderus (centre) has joined the push for a statue of his great mate Andrew Johns (left). Picture: Phil Hillyard
Danny Buderus (centre) has joined the push for a statue of his great mate Andrew Johns (left). Picture: Phil Hillyard

Asked about the 'Bronze for Johns' bid, Buderus said: "Absolutely, Joey should get a statue.

"I've seen the push coming from fans and think it's absolutely great. The whole thing really seems to have some momentum behind it now and I don't think fans will rest until he has one".

Elsewhere, Big Willie said it was rugby league's "absolute shame" that Johns hadn't already been immortalised in his hometown, while both Hindmarsh and Sailor spoke to camera for videos supporting the cause.

 

 

Johns, who is understandably honoured - if also slightly embarrassed - by the statue talk, spent Saturday afternoon acting as assistant coach for the Knights Old Boys team, who were bundled out of the nines tournament in the finals.

"So I've got Joey at my place," Buderus grinned. "Good weekend."

 

Same deal, it now seems, those 'Bronze for Johns' organisers.

In what shapes as something of an Origin showdown, the group is pushing to raise $50,000 for the Johns statue - convinced the eighth Immortal should earn a bust before fellow Kangaroo halfback great Johnathan Thurston.

Midway through this year, it was announced a statue of the Queensland Origin favourite would front a new Townsville stadium sometime in 2020.

So more than simply lobbying for a Johns statue outside McDonald Jones Stadium, Knights fans are now urging it be completed before the Bananabenders do the same for 'JT'.

Apart from handing out 'Bronze for Johns' flyers at the Legends of League event, organisers also chased signatures and raised awareness for a GoFundMe campaign - all of which will eventually be presented to both the NSW Government and Venues NSW.

A host of Knights Old Boys, including Buderus, Kurt Gidley and Billy Peden, also completed video tributes for organisers, throwing their support behind the push to 'Bronze Johns' in 2020.