Johns goes surfing while stars defend Erin Molan
There was no sign of stress over ongoing rumours of a feud between Andrew Joey Johns and Erin Molan.
The rugby league immortal was photographed surfing in Bronte while famous friends of Molan took to social media to defend the sports presenter.
"When it comes to champion people and broadcasters @Erin_Molan is top of the list," fellow television presenter Deb Knight wrote on Twitter defending Molan.
"Professional. Hard working. Gives her all. I'm honoured to call her a colleague and a friend."
In response, Molan wrote: "Love you. Thank you X".
Supercars reporter Riana Crehan also lent her support to Molan over the hate she had received in the wake of recent reports of a rift with Johns.
"The current trolling of @Erin_Molan is disgusting & makes me embarrassed to be part social media," Crehan wrote. "The horrific comments are totally inexcusable. Ez is the most brilliant human, broadcaster & mentor & what she has done away from TV goes beyond what many will ever dream to achieve."
Channel 9 this week denied there is any rift after The Sunday Telegraph reported an awkward falling out between star host Molan and the rugby league legend, with the pair no longer working together on Friday night football.
Some insiders have attributed the cooling relationship to Paul 'Fatty' Vautin being given the boot from The Footy Show.
The network advertised at the start of the year that Johns would be an integral part of the Friday night coverage Molan is hosting this season. But like last year, when he took himself off The Footy Show when Molan replaced Vautin, Johns suddenly disappeared from the Friday night broadcast, replaced by Billy Slater in the commentary box.
"Joey has never been a fan of Erin, which isn't fair because she works her arse off," one source said earlier this week. "The whole Footy Show thing, with Fatty being booted … that is where it started to go sour."
Vautin was given his marching orders in October 2017, with Molan fronting the new-look program early last year before it was officially axed earlier this year.
"They are just two completely different people," a TV executive said. "Joey didn't want to be on the Footy Show with her. He wasn't happy and just wanted to be at the games. Joey is the smartest guy in rugby league and just didn't want to be there and Erin was really upset by that."
When contacted on Monday, Johns said, "there's nothing in it, I've got to run".
Both Johns and Molan will be involved in this weekend's grand final broadcast but Nine hasn't specified if they will be on air together.
In a statement on Monday, the broadcaster said: "There is no 'awkward falling out, friction, or drama' inside the Nine commentary team, despite best efforts of News Corporation to make it so."
It said Johns generously stepped back to give Billy Slater a chance to call games with Phil Gould.
Yesterday, former Footy Show presenter Beau Ryan also defended Molan over the nasty online hate she had been receiving.
"When you play rugby league or any sport, you're used to being heckled and abused. But come into the social world and it's hard. I cop trolling too but I'm all right with it, it doesn't define me and doesn't affect me," Ryan said.
"That's what happens to these reality stars … they get on there and think everything's going to rosy and then they get trolled and can get really down and dark. I saw that happen to Erin. She's got a journalism background, she's done nothing wrong and been trolled for her looks or what she's done or said, or the show she's working on, or the team she supports. And it took a toll on her."