New South Wales legend Andrew Johns could not hide his anger when asked for his thoughts on the side’s loss in Wednesday’s State of Origin decider.
The Blues headed into Game 3 as firm favourites despite having to travel to Brisbane, given the dearth of injuries suffered to key Queensland players.
But the Maroons – led by old stagers Cameron Smith and Billy Slater and young pair Cameron Munster and Valentine Holmes – proved too good, recording a comfortable 22-6 triumph at Suncorp Stadium.
“I feel sick at the moment,” a scathing Johns told the Nine Network.
“It is just so hard to watch. Look, you have to applaud Queensland. But I still don’t think New South Wales get it.”
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) July 12, 2017
Johns then referred to Jarrod Wallace’s late try as an example of everything the Blues got wrong.
Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita were caught badly out of position when the outstanding Munster flung a pass in Wallace’s direction and although it bounced, the New South Wales pair’s positioning allowed the Maroon in to score.
“There were times there when the ball was thrown back inside and we just switched off,” he said.
“You think the ball has gone past you and ‘my job is done’. It is not.
“You can’t give up on it in Origin footy and that is what we have to get the mentality of. It is not about set plays and fancy plays.
“Cooper Cronk spoke about will and desire – that is what wins these games.
“I look at the teams on paper before and I think New South Wales, on paper, had a much stronger team. I thought they had a much stronger forward pack.
“But the game isn’t played on paper.”
Johns’ comments come as Blues coach Laurie Daley, who has lost four of five Origin series’ as coach, faces significant pressure to step down.
Daley acknowledged after the defeat that backlash was headed his way – and that he was “100 per cent” ready for it.
“I’m proud of these guys [my players], I’m grateful they tried so hard,” he said.
“We can play a little bit better but in the mashup, we’re 12 months away [from] the next game. It will hurt for 12 months.”
When asked about his future, he refused to comfirm his intentions, but added: “I think I’ve always been clear about what I’m going to do.”