Former New South Wales player Matty Johns has proposed ripping up the state’s current player payment program for State of Origin matches.
Johns – so incensed by yet another series loss to Queensland, the state’s 11th in 12 years – wants to see players rewarded for victories, but get nothing for defeats.
The television personality’s comments came after it was revealed Blues Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson went on a drinking session in the lead-up to last week’s deciding Game 3 – comfortably won by Queensland.
“New South Wales, we need a culture change,” Johns said on Fox Sports.
“Have we got people in the team that are doing it for the right reasons?
“When a player gets selected for New South Wales, win, lose or draw, they get $30,000 [as a match payment].
“They deserve it because it’s the toughest of all the rugby codes in the world … but I tell you what would be a really interesting experiment.
“The week before selection you bring the 30 players who are in for contention and you sit them down and you say to them: ‘Tell you what we’re going to do this year. There’s no $30,000 appearance fee. You’re going to get $40,000 if you win, but you get nothing if you lose’.”
“If you’re not happy and you don’t want to play, notify us … it would be an easy way to clean them out.
“Jake Trbojevic – that bloke would pay $30,000 to play State of Origin and they’re the blokes we need to win a series.”
Johns added that the reason New South Wales kept losing Origin series was “more than football”, questioning the attitude of Laurie Daley’s side.
His comments came after Penrith general manager Phil Gould dubbed the New South Wales culture a “dog’s breakfast” and ex-Blues star Mark Geyer blew up on radio.
“The whole thing about State of Origin at the moment stinks,” Geyer told Triple M.
“We’ve lost 11 series out of 12 – something’s wrong. It doesn’t take us, as ex-rugby league players, to know something’s wrong.
“The man on the street’s telling us something’s wrong every day. My Mum and Dad ring me up and go, ‘What’s wrong with New South Wales’?
“And when the main man [NSW Rugby League chief David Trodden] comes out and says, ‘No, these players [Dugan and Ferguson] haven’t got anything to face as far as discipline goes,’ … I’m sorry but they have.
“They’ve brought their team into disrepute. They’ve made headlines for the wrong reasons and it’s affected everyone.”