Johns's gone Johns's playing future in doubt nrl.com 19 March 2005 Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns' immediate playing future is in doubt with yet another injury, this time with problems relating to discs in his back. In just his second National Rugby League game in almost a year, Johns at times limped around the field tonight as Canberra humiliated Newcastle 39-14 at Canberra Stadium. Johns lasted the full 80 minutes but was obviously struggling with what appeared to be a hip injury as he made a handful of unforced - and uncharacteristic - errors. Knights doctor Peter McGeoch's initial diagnosis was that Johns had injured discs in his spine but he would not know the extent of the injury until he underwent scans next week. In the meantime, he ordered Johns to rest. "He had some pain in his leg and had slight twinges at training over the last couple of days and obviously it got worse when he was playing out there today," McGeoch said. "We'll have to get some more investigations done on his lower back to see if we can find the source of the pain. "Possibly he's got some disc problems in his lower back." Compounding Newcastle's woes was the fact Matthew Gidley, one of the few senior players in the team who filled in at five-eighth, was placed on report for a high tackle on Raiders lock Alan Rothery. But the NSW centre, who has a clean slate at the judiciary, was more embarrassed about his dismal performance. "We just turned over too much ball," Gidley said. "It was school boy stuff, it was embarrassing. "Personally, I was just forcing too many balls, I was trying to create stuff but I should know better." Newcastle is already without 12 first grade players, including Danny Buderus (foot), Kurt Gidley (quad), Clint Newton (suspended) and Mark Hughes (rib), and is still overcoming its pre-season crisis. And the 39-14 slaughtering, on the back of last week's dismal 48-10 loss to Melbourne, did nothing for the Knights' confidence. Coach Michael Hagan indicated Johns should have been another player on the sideline tonight. "You admire and appreciate blokes putting their hand up for you but you've also got to consider the outcome of what that's going to be and whether we're better to rest people," he said. Asked if he meant it would be better to rest Johns, Hagan replied: "You've got to get to a situation where you can get through a game and play to a standard you expect from yourself and what the team expects from you. They're the things you expect every week." The only positive news for the Knights is the fact they have a bye next week and Buderus and Kurt Gidley were expected to return for their round four match against North Queensland. It was a perfect start to the season for Canberra, which had the bye in the opening round, despite being without two senior players. Second rower Ian Hindmarsh missed the game with a calf injury and lock Michael Hodgson pulled out as his wife Sally went into labour to give birth to their first child. Fullback Clinton Schifcofske scored the opening and closing tries while Canberra debutants Jason Smith, Matt Adamson and Craig Frawley scored one each, along with Matt Gafa.