Joey is not all bad
JUNIOR footballer Brandan Simon received a rare and unexpected gift from rugby league legend Andrew “Joey” Johns – his boots – at the New South Wales Blues’ State of Origin training session at Cudgen recently.
The act of kindness occurred before Johns was kicked off the squad in disgrace following racist remarks.
Nine-year-old Brandan had attended the Blues’ training session at Ned Byrne Field on June 10, and was playing with his cousin along the sideline while the Blues practised.
After a few minutes the Blues started working on their kicking game, and a ball came off the boot of Michael Ennis and accidentally hit Brandan on the head.
Johns saw what happened and went over to check on Brandan who was crying.
Brandan’s mother Brenda said Johns asked if he was okay and offered Brandan his football socks.
“It was really nice of him to do that, I really didn’t expect it,” she said.
“After he took his socks off, he said ‘you know what you can have my boots as well’, which was another big surprise.
“I was talking to the other mums and said now he doesn’t have any shoes, maybe I should give them back, but they said ‘no you should keep them’.”
Once the Blues finished their session Johns went back to sign the shoes. He told Ms Simon he wouldn’t normally give them away.
“Giving something personal away like your shoes is very special,” she said.
“You hear all this stuff about him which is a shame, because he didn’t seem like that type of person, but that is all I will say about that.
“The small development of Brandan receiving the boots had a big impact on him and he was very excited about what has happened.”
The Tweed Daily News caught up with Brandan at his Thursday night training session for the under -9s Tweed Heads Seagulls at Piggabeen, and he was grinning from ear to ear.
He is passionate about the game and has been playing for the past two years.
Brandan loves running and bares the nickname “mini Matty” after professional rugby league player Matt Bowen of the North Queensland Cowboys.
He plays at hooker and his hero is Brisbane Bronco and Maroons captain Darren Lockyer. Lockyer was the only current player to have been named in Australia’s 100 greatest players during 2008’s centenary of rugby league celebrations.