State of Origin Game 3: Sad truth about Andrew Johns’ TV outburst at NSW

Andrew Johns was a broken man on Wednesday night, but his post-match address exposed a far greater issue continuing to haunt NSW.Queensland, you’ve done it again.During the Maroons’ reign of dominance, which saw them win 11 of 12 series between 2006-2017, they boasted some of the greatest players the game has ever seen in Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.Stream the FOX LEAGUE State of Origin Game 3 REPLAY on Kayo with no ads during play. Both full and condensed replays available to stream from 11PM AEST. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >Even with all that talent, so often the reason for their success was pinpointed as Queensland “caring” more about Origin. Possessing the Origin “spirit”. Winning those little moments that make such a big difference.It was a myth, of course, that Queensland had more passion for the interstate contest than NSW. But so often it was the Maroons with that final, last-ditch play to steal victory — so the myth lived on.Not among the Blues, though. Rightly, they always rejected the assertion they didn’t “get” Origin like Queensland did — even as they chopped and changed players and coaches, copping criticism for not “picking and sticking” like their rivals.With a thrilling 22-12 victory on Wednesday night, those north of the Tweed added another chapter to Origin folklore, winning a game they had no right to.Losing best player Cameron Munster and winger Murray Taulagi before the match to Covid, Maroons coach Billy Slater called in two debutants. Then he lost two players to concussion in the opening three minutes.His troops should never have stood a chance, but rookie Tom Dearden was exceptional, Kalyn Ponga threatened with every touch, Daly Cherry-Evans’ kicking game was masterful and Ben Hunt stepped up to secure the Origin Shield.Queensland has now won two of the past three series — often on the back of heart, camaraderie and courage, rather than talent alone. It’s why NSW legend Andrew Johns was so glum as he fronted Nine’s post-match coverage alongside Maroons legends Smith and Paul Vautin.Told it must have been hard for him to watch, Johns replied: “Yep. It means so much.”A question from Paul Vautin about where things went wrong for NSW pushed Johns over the edge.“Why? Well, you won the big moments,” he said.“Now we have to listen to all the bulls*** from you (Queenslanders) in the next 12 months. It drives you mad.”That “bulls***” Johns was referring to is not just the usual gloating that comes with every Origin series victory, but the belief from Queenslanders they “get” Origin while NSW don’t.Johns’ glum display of what some called sour grapes wasn’t as fearsome as the extraordinary spray he delivered to NSW for failing to target an injured Thurston in 2017, but that’s what made it so sad.Once again, Queensland had pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Found life when it should have been dead.Sure, there have been instances where NSW has “done a Queensland”, like in 2019 when James Tedesco won the series with a last-minute try. But nine times out of 10 when the odds should be impossible, it’s the Maroons who have built a reputation for digging deep and doing the unthinkable.After wrapping up the series with two comprehensive wins last year, NSW coach Brad Fittler suggested his team could be on the cusp of its own dynasty, much like the one overseen by Smith, Thurston and Co. earlier this century.But anyone who genuinely believed that was living a lie. If the astonishing backs-to-the-wall victory masterminded by Wayne Bennett in 2020 didn’t already prove Queensland’s fighting spirit can’t be held at bay for long enough to create whatever constitutes a “dynasty” these days, then Wednesday night’s win certainly did.The expression on Johns’ face revealed he knew just how big the opportunity was NSW had missed.Dumb mistakes at the wrong times — be they dropped kicks, foolish no-look offloads or messy play-the-balls — killed the Blues in the end. While footy fans raved about the “greatest game of all time” at Origin level, Fittler wasn’t buying it.He lamented his side’s errors and poor decision-making, arguing in his post-match press conference if the Blues were so far short of their best, there’s no way the decider could be classed as the greatest Origin contest we’ve ever seen.When fatigue kicked in and the pressure ramped up to 11, it didn’t matter how many Penrith combinations the visitors had on the park. They defended with plenty of guts but couldn’t match Queensland where it mattered most — in those little moments and small one-percenters that ultimately separate Origin winners from Origin losers.And Andrew Johns knows it.Originally published as Sad truth about Joey’s petulant live TV Origin outburst