The day young Joey lied about his age

Andrew Johns wasn't having a bar of it.

The True Blue and Rugby League Immortal had just landed at the Armidale clinic as a young kid with his older brother Matthew when he was informed he couldn't take part.

The fact that he was only 10-years-old and the camp was specifically for 12 to 18s didn't matter to 'Joey'. All he could see was a stack of kids having the time of their lives playing the game he loved and as far as he was concerned he was going to be a part of it.

"Matty came up to participate in the camp and Joey was with him but refused to get in the car to go home," Rugby League icon and one of co-founders of the original Armidale clinic Peter Corcoran told NSWRL.com.au during a recent visit by the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues.

"Joey said, "I'm not going, I'm staying here. If Matty can stay, I can stay.' Their father Gary came up to me and said, 'What do I do? He wants to stay here. We can't leave him here and we can't stay here.'

Corcoran, widely regarded as one of the game's great identities for his work with juniors, thought about the problem and came up with the only solution he could think of that would save any more tears or tantrums.

"I said, 'I know of Joey's reputation and how good he is, but he's a 10-year-old. How will he be?' and Gary said, 'Don't worry, Matty will look after him if that's OK.'

"I said to Joey, 'If anyone asks you what your age is you're 12-years-old'."

So Joey got his wish. He stayed with Matty, he took part in the training camp and all the games, and he even got to rub shoulders with some of the brightest emerging coaches in Rugby League. So how did he go by the time it was all over?

"He killed them," Corcoran said.

"He killed them in the drills, killed them in the Sevens Tournament that we'd hold each night, and he was named the Player of the Camp.

"He was basically the only bloke who should never have been there and he won the top prize."