Newcastle Knights captain Andrew Johns has ended the battle for his signature by announcing he has re-signed with the National Rugby League club for a further two years.
Johns was considering a switch to rugby union after receiving an offer from the New South Wales Waratahs but has opted to stay in league and is likely to join Channel Nine as a permanent commentator when he retires.
The decision ends weeks of speculation about Johns? future, which reached its height yesterday with rumours flying around left, right and centre about where he would be next year.
Johns still hadn?t decided which way he would go when he appeared on Channel Nine?s Footy Show last night but rang his manager, John Fordham, this morning to inform him that he wanted to stay in rugby league.
Knights coach Michael Hagan was pleased about Johns? decision when told about it this morning.
?The fact that he is playing in our team next year obviously puts a smile on my face, as I?m sure it would any coach in the same circumstances,? Hagan said.
?I must say that the last few weeks have been extremely stressful for all concerned at our football club and it would have been a very difficult situation to deal with if Andrew had made a different decision.
?I do firmly believe that he has made the right choice.?
In a statement, Johns said the last few weeks have been extremely tough and agonising, but in the end he went with his head.
"In the end, my head told me that I should remain with rugby league,? he said.
Johns' manager John Fordham confirmed that News Limited and the Nine Network had guaranteed the world's No. 1 player exciting post-football career opportunities. "This was a comforting aspect of negotiations in the past week," Fordham said.
Johns said he had been very impressed with the professionalism shown by the NSW Waratahs in the negotiations.
"The challenge to play rugby at the top level was very tantalising and it was something that I obviously gave serious consideration to," he said. "I realised there was an exciting career for me if I had switched codes. I wish the Waratahs every success in next year's Super 12 competition".
Johns has also denied speculation he plans to step down from representative football.Like