Johns is a fan of Brooks and has never shied away from his interest to sign the playmaker at Newcastle.
Brooks requested an early release at least once in the off-season in an attempt to join Newcastle, but the Tigers denied it.
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He denied that, though, when speaking to 9News in May, but it was widely reported at the time.
Asked if Brooks was the answer to the Knights’ halves problems, Johns told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth Newcastle needed to land a superstar player to develop its squad around.
“If you have a look at clubs over the years, Souths were struggling – they signed Sam (Burgess). Manly was struggling – they signed Ben Kennedy back in the day.”
But with Brooks struggling for personal and team form during his decade at Concord, podcast host Mat Thompson said he in no way compared to Burgess and Kennedy, to which Johns agreed.
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“But you need that real top-line player,” Johns said.
“If you have a look at Souths, they brought in Sam Burgess and then they brought in Greg Inglis. Sometimes you need that player in your club to turn things around.”
Thompson argued Brooks was not at the same level as the others.
“I think we can get him there,” Johns said.
This prompted Thompson to question: ”How good could (Brooks) be?”.
“I think he hasn’t reached his potential. We’ve seen signs consistently and he’s at that stage of his career, he’s 27,” Johns said.
Discussing specifics in Brooks’ game that could be refined or explored, Johns conveyed a different approach.
“I think strip it back and make it simpler. I think he’s at his best when he’s on the advantage line, getting the ball – not getting the ball off front rowers – he is getting the quality ball and going at the defence.”
New South Wales coach Brad Fittler agreed that Brooks is yet to achieve what he is capable of.
“You know what (Brooks) is? He’s fast,” Fittler said.
“He’s a bit like Stacey Jones. He’s got that speed where it’s a bit unpredictable. You think you’ve got him but he just does a little in your way and he’s gone.
“But I haven’t seen enough.”
Brooks is tied to the Tigers until the end of the 2023 season. His contract is reportedly set to be worth upwards of $1 million next year.
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