Ugly truth emerges after Andrew Johns' State of Origin 'disgrace'

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Andrew Johns was fuming after NSW's loss in the State of Origin decider. Image: Channel 9/Getty
Andrew Johns was fuming after NSW's loss in the State of Origin decider. Image: Channel 9/Getty

NRL 360 host Paul Kent believes Andrew Johns' controversial outburst after State of Origin III shows the disparity between the levels of passion between current and former NSW players.

Debate has erupted after the State of Origin series that NSW aren't as passionate about the format as their Queensland counterparts.

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Nathan Cleary copped it from fans on social media after Origin III when he said the loss 'sucked', with many suggesting a Queenslander would never say that.

One New South Welshman who did show his passion in the aftermath was Johns, who lashed out in Channel 9's post-game show with what some labelled an 'unprofessional' outburst.

"Now we have to listen to all the bullshit you guys carry on with for the next 12 months," a clearly unimpressed Johns said to Queensland icons Cameron Smith and Paul Vautin.

While some criticised Johns' comments on social media, Kent believes they highlighted a key difference between past and present NSW players.

“I would never question Andrew Johns’ commitment in a Blues jersey ... it was genuine and I got the feeling when I looked into the Blues dressing room, that Andrew Johns was hurting more than half the blokes in the room,” Kent said on NRL 360 on Monday night.

“And again, that’s not the way it should be. You’d never question Andrew Johns’ commitment, you’d never question Paul Harragon’s commitment, Laurie Daley’s commitment, Ricky Stuart’s commitment when they were wearing the Blues jersey.

“When you look at this team, I just don’t see it and I think it is incumbent on the coaching staff to put it in them.

“That is what Queensland do every year, they got away and they renew and reinvigorate what it means to wear the Maroons jersey.”

Paul Kent slams NSW over State of Origin culture

Kent said the decision of Victor Radley to turn his back on Origin footy and represent England at the upcoming World Cup was a clear example.

"I think the fact he was in the Origin camp for Game II. I know I upset some people but it’s the reality,” Kent said.

“Queenslanders speak of Queensland first, Australia second. We’ve got guys now speaking of England first, Samoa first, Tonga first and the Blues second.

“They see Origin not as the dream but they see it more as the status of playing Origin.

“Their Origin ambitions are to reach the status of playing in that toughest of cauldrons but I don’t think when they go to bed at night, Benny Elias said they used to sleep in their Blues jerseys, I don’t think these guys sleep in their Blues jerseys, I just don’t.”

Nathan Cleary and Brad Fittler, pictured here after NSW's loss in State of Origin III.
Nathan Cleary and Brad Fittler look on after NSW's loss in State of Origin III. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Kent said NSW coach Brad Fittler needs to take responsibility for changing the Blues' culture and suggested his actions when dropping players weren't good enough.

“Josh Addo-Carr, they play phone tag apparently so he doesn’t actually speak to him. Another guy who has always stood up for NSW ... and then inexplicably gets left out of the side," Kent said.

“Latrell Mitchell some years back, Cody Walker some years back, Luke Keary some years back. They’ve all just been ‘you’re not in the side mate, done’. Kotoni Staggs...

“So when you get these inexplicable omissions and you’re one of those players that’s just been burned because you’ve been left out of the side then you can’t tell me that there’s just a small part of you that’s stinging over that.

“And then you don’t feel that the loyalty and the commitment you have given to the journey has been returned. And it hasn’t.”

Victor Radley, pictured here in State of Origin camp with NSW.
Victor Radley has turned his back on NSW and State of Origin to play for England. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Addressing the issue last week, NSW assistant coach Greg Alexander said it was 'disrespectful' to question the Blues' passion.

“Anyone who says Queensland cares more about the jersey is talking absolute garbage,” the Penrith Panthers legend told SEN radio.

“It’s disrespectful to even say it. The comment makes me so angry as they have no idea what goes on inside camp.”

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