Chief clears Origin return By Dean Ritchie March 23, 2007 NEWCASTLE director Paul Harragon last night paved the way for Andrew Johns to return to State of Origin this season by declaring: "No one will stand in his way - I'll make sure of that." Harragon's comments come as New South Wales coach Graham Murray admitted for the first time that he wanted Andrew Johns available for this year's State of Origin series. Johns was revealed last month to be considering a shock return to Origin despite having retired from representative football last year. Johns continues to tell friends of a desire to play for New South Wales in what could his final season in the NRL, despite his Newcastle contract stating that he is not available for representative football. But Harragon said when asked whether the Knights would stand in the way of Johns: "Not at all. Get him out there for the biggest game of the year. "No one will stand in his way - I'll make sure of that. "I think he missed State of Origin last year. He felt empty not playing. "Origin brings out the best in Joey. "If he's not there, it takes away from his game a bit with the Knights." Australian Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr said Johns would first have to apply for an exemption to play Origin. NSW management has been reluctant to comment on Johns's possible return until the player officially asks to play. But Murray said last night: "If you're asking me if I'd like Andrew Johns to become available, there wouldn't be a coach in the land that wouldn't. "Any coach of NSW would like to see him available. "I'm no different. "He would bring to NSW what Darren Lockyer brings to Queensland." Johns would, however, have to prove himself at NRL level this season before winning selection. He was knocked unconscious last weekend, and will miss the match against St George-Illawarra at OKI Jubilee Stadium tonight as a result. Brett Kimmorley, Matt Orford and Craig Gower are other halfbacks in contention. NSW chairman of selectors Bob McCarthy said Johns's form would be monitored. "If he makes himself available then we'd look at him," McCarthy said. "I'd like to see him play for Newcastle first." ARL officials are also aware of the excitement and publicity a Johns comeback would generate. "'Joey's retired so we're not really in a position to speculate," Carr said. "If he asked for the exemption to be lifted, then we would go through the usual procedures. "He is entitled to do that. "But I couldn't speculate whether he will or he would be granted that exemption." NSW wants Johns after losing last year's series 2-1, although Johns will not be available for the April 20 Test match against New Zealand.