‘I felt sick’: Emotional Johns wanted Blues coaching job after 2017 collapse

A frustrated Andrew Johns put his hand up to take over as NSW head coach after the collapse that cost the Blues the 2017 series.

NSW were leading the series 1-0 and had a 16-6 halftime lead in Game II on home soil, before inexplicably blowing it and eventually losing the series.

At the time Johns’ described the second half capitulation in Game II as the dumbest half of Origin he’d ever seen.

Phil Gould revealed to the Six Tackles podcast that the loss prompted Johns to consider coaching the side.

“Andrew Johns, he was maniacal after [Origin] games when we’d lose,” Gould said. “I had to settle him down.

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“After the game, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life because we’ve come in after the game and we’d lost another series.

“Andrew Johns is sitting on the panel and there’s Paul Vautin and Wally [Lewis], the two smart-arse Queenslanders up the other end there, all head wobbles and giggles.

“Andrew sits down and he said, ‘This is disgraceful. I can’t stand this, I can’t stand all this losing. We’re going to have to change this, we’re going to have to change this, we’re going to have to change this’.

“And Fatty says to him, ‘Well, Andrew, why don’t you coach them?’ Being a smarty, as Fatty is.

NSW Blues team advisor Andrew Johns during a 2018 training session at Coogee.Source:AAP

“Andrew says, ‘I’ll coach ‘em! I’ll coach ‘em! Give me the job’.

“And I said, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I said, ‘Settle down’. He said, ‘What?’

“I said, ‘Don’t, no, no. Just be careful what you wish for there, Andrew. No, no, no, no’.

“He said, ‘Oh yeah, alright, alright’.

“So of course, we go live on air and what’s the first thing Fatty says? ‘Andrew, do you want to coach the Blues?’

“Andrew says, ‘No, I don’t think I need that pressure in my life’.

“I’m sitting on the end of the thing laughing my head off. Hilarious.

“But that’s how passionate they are about it.”

Johns frustrations echoed the entire NSW State back in 2017, after the Queenslanders won their 11th series in 12 years.

NSW coach Brad Fittler has used Andrew Johns as an assistant over the past two seasons.Source:News Corp Australia

“I felt sick,” Johns said when asked about the game by Paul Vautin.

“It was so hard to watch.

“I still don’t think New South Wales get it. They just don’t get it.

“There were times there when the ball was thrown back inside and we just switched off.

“You think the ball goes past you and ‘my job’s done’…you can’t give up. You can’t give up in Origin footy.

“And that’s what we have to get the mentality of. It’s not about set-plays and fancy plays.

“Cooper Cronk spoke about will and desire. That’s what wins these games.

“I looked at these teams on paper before and I think New South Wales, on paper, they had a much stronger team. I thought they had a much stronger forward pack.

“But the game’s not played on paper.”

Johns eventually settled for a role under Brad Fittler as an assistant coach.

Johns will continue his role with NSW playmakers in 2019.

Originally published as Emotional Joey wanted Blues job

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