Matthew Johns stirred the pot by recently commenting on his radio show in Sydney that he’d been approached to join Channel 9 and be a part of The NRL Footy Show but that he’d turned it down as it needed to change and the network were allegedly not keen on his suggestions. Hey presto, Foxtel step into the breach and all of a sudden he’ll be across all their NRL coverage. Let’s see what he can make of this opportunity. From the press release:

FOX SPORTS announced today that former player and television host Matthew Johns will spearhead the comprehensive National Rugby League coverage on FOX SPORTS beginning with the upcoming 2012 season.

The three year, exclusive arrangement with both FOX SPORTS and FOXTEL also includes other strands in subscription television, including a programming development deal with FOXTEL’s flagship entertainment channels.

Johns will headline – and be the face of – the exclusive coverage of Monday Night Football on FOX SPORTS. Kicking off on March 12, 2012, he will also provide expert analysis and commentary of the game across FOX SPORTS and FOX SPORTS NEWS.

Additionally, he will co-host the signature program NRL on FOX on Wednesdays with Warren Smith.

FOX SPORTS Chief Executive, Patrick Delany, said: “This new role for Matthew sees him return to what he truly knows and loves. His expansive knowledge of rugby league and passion for the gamewill provide both an insightful look and light-hearted perspective to the FOX SPORTS team.

“The addition of Matthew bolsters our already strong team, and along with the five live games per week, FOX SPORTS will provide our viewers with the most extensive and indepth analysis of rugby league available.

“Matthews’s long term relationship with new Head of FOX SPORTS Channels Gary Burns, along with the recent appointment of Ben Jones as Executive Producer means we can expect a fresh approach, as well as a willingness to explore new ideas in the way we produce NRL games and programming on FOX SPORTS.”

The new deal will also see Johns continue to expand his talents in the entertainment field, with a first look production agreement for entertainment projects with the FOXTEL Channels Group, including FOX8 and The Comedy Channel.

FOXTEL Executive Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: “The ability to provide Matthew with an entertainment and sports proposal was the key to securing this deal and differentiates FOXTELfrom what our competitors in the market could offer.

“Our discussions have already proven fruitful and we look forward to developing a marque entertainment series which taps into his unique brand of humour.”

Matthew Johns said: “What attracted me to FOX SPORTS was the enthusiasm and creativity the team has to take coverage of NRL to the next level. What they have indicated we have planned for this year is unique and will give our coverage a great point of difference.

“Working with a passionate, dedicated and driven group, and getting back into rugby league is a perfect way to kick off 2012.”

Johns will first appear on FOX SPORTS on NRL on FOX on Wednesday, February 29 at 6.30pm Qld time (7.30pm AEDT).