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A bruising State of Origin series loss was a brutal blow for NSW earlier this week, but nobody seemed to take it harder than Andrew Johns.
The NRL legend and Blues icon was well and truly despondent on the Channel 9 broadcast after the game.
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Queensland came back from a narrow half-time deficit to claim a memorable 22-12 victory, punctuated by a stifling second half defence that stopped the Blues in their tracks at every turn.
Johns was obviously in no mood to celebrate Queensland's win after the match, with his body language and demeanour on the post-game show noticeably flat.
He was asked what had gone wrong for the Blues by Paul Vautin, only to give a sharp reply and re-affirm his hatred for Queensland.
“Why? Well, you won the big moments,” he said.
“Now we have to listen to all the bulls**t from you (Queenslanders) in the next 12 months. It drives you mad.”
It was an amusing moment to some, but many others felt Johns had been unprofessional after what had otherwise been a sensational Origin decider.
Johns has since sought to explain himself more, telling the Immortal Behaviour podcast from Wide World of Sports that his attitude on Wednesday evening was spurred by his own love of the Blues.
The 48-year-old said he was 'still broken' after the loss.
“What do they want me to just get on there and talk vanilla?” Johns said.
“I probably didn’t articulate it well enough because I was so broken inside but that’s how I felt. I feel broken inside. It means that much to me.”
Johns said he was most filthy about the constant suggestions that pulling on an Origin jersey simply meant more to Queensland's players than it does to NSW.
Andrew Johns explains petulant behaviour after State of Origin
Describing how his two main goals when he was younger were to play for Newcastle and for NSW, Johns said he was unbelievably frustrated by the narrative that the Maroons care more about winning than their Blues rivals.
Some NSW players, in particular Nathan Cleary, were called out by some observers for his seeming lack of emotion after the devastating loss.
Johns said comments like that weren't only disrespectful to the Blues, but they rarely came from former Origin players who understood the passion.
“Where was this ‘It means more to them’ (narrative) in Perth in the second half when we put on 30 points?" he questioned.
"I can show clips of guys walking when they were tired for Queensland, which is a sign that ... does their jersey mean more to (them) when they’re walking and they’re running past and scoring? It’s a myth.
“For people to say it, it is insulting to anyone who has bled and got injured and done everything they can for the NSW jersey when they’re playing.
“Usually it doesn’t come from the players and the ex-players. And look — the last couple of days I’ve spoken to some of the guys I used to play against, Gorden (Tallis) and Wendell (Sailor) and these guys.
“It doesn’t come from them; it comes from people outside who have no idea, have never been on the battlefield of Origin, would never survive out there. But they push this narrative which is total BS. It just drives me mad.
Johns' 'bulls***' comment on Wednesday night left his co-hosts, including former Queensland great, in a few moments of stunned silence.
2GB radio host Jim Wilson was among those to blast Johns' outburst on social media.
“Wow, Joey Johns, what a bloody disgrace,” he wrote. “Sore loser! C’mon Joey, really?”
“Sure be upset, but that was just petulant. I love Joey’s analysis and passion but it was spoilt brat material.”
Cricket commentator Roger Oldridge wrote: "If you want to see a sore loser, Andrew Johns on ch9 post match is the No.1 seed. Hope they didn’t pay him for that ‘effort’."
While retired Aussie cricketer Damien Martyn added: "How much is Andrew Johns a sore loser. What a role model and well done Channel 9. #disrespectful #loser #havesomerespect."
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