State of Origin information, Andrew Johns, Phil Gould, 2003 NSW Blues camp, photograph, story


The first episode of Wide World of Sports’ Stories of Origin podcast can be launched on Friday May 13. This story is taken from episode two, The Champions, which can be launched on Monday May 16. Subscribe to Stories of Origin on Spotify, Apple, Google.

Phil Gould and Andrew Johns have lifted the lid on an notorious photograph snapped in the course of the 2003 State of Origin camp.

Newspapers on the time ran the picture on the entrance pages, claiming a rift between the famous person halfback and the New South Wales coach.

The photograph exhibits coach Gould extending his proper arm in the direction of Johns, who stands together with his arms crossed wanting unimpressed.

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Gould had pulled Johns out of a staff lunch and brought him onto the close by coaching subject to talk one-on-one.

“At the time I wasn’t playing that well. I had a lot of discussions away from footy, probably footy wasn’t my No.1 focus… other things were getting in the way,” Johns recalled for Wide World of Sports’ Stories of Origin podcast.

“He put me on show, and I didn’t take it too well. It blew up – there’s photos everywhere. It was all paper talk, I was never not going to play.

“I went residence and I did that a lot additional coaching, acquired myself rock onerous match, after which we acquired into Origin and I used to be able to go.”

Johns admits he was filthy with Gould at the time the photo was taken, but in hindsight knows it was what he needed.

“There’s nobody higher at man managing, and managing huge egos too. And on the time I wanted my wings clipped, I wanted a kick within the bottom and I would not get it wherever else,” he stated.

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“You get to a sure degree, folks do not inform you the reality. They bulls–t to you. He did not bulls–t me, he hit me straight between the eyes.

“At the time I didn’t like it, but I look back now and realise it’s what needed to be done. There’s only a couple of people who would do that, and Gus was one of them.”

Media studies claimed the photograph confirmed an indignant Gould laying down the legislation to his out-of-form Origin halfback.

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But the person himself defined what was actually stepping into.

“The reporting of that incident was disgraceful back in the day, and was pointed at me more than anything, and made it very difficult for him,” Gould instructed Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

“I remember the actual photo – in that photo I was actually explaining to him how I wanted him to defend.

“I defended him behind the road, in an old style position, and he would solely loom into the road to place strain on (Darren) Lockyer, whichever facet of the sphere he was. So quite than defend one place he would defend one participant.

“I was actually standing there talking to him (saying) ‘you will stand behind the line’, and that’s the photo where I’m going like that (holding my hand up). (The media) dressed it up into something it wasn’t.”

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Following that incident, studies claimed Johns had threatened to withdraw from the Blues squad and sit out the 2003 Origin sequence.

He says that was by no means going to occur. Gould made certain it did not.

“Joey called me a couple weeks later… and said ‘Do you want me in the team or not?’,” Gould stated.

“And I said ‘Andrew they’ve sold 52,000 tickets to this game, they’re not coming to watch me coach, mate, they’re coming to watch you play’.

“And that was that. He was excellent, we received the primary two video games.”

The Blues won the 2003 Origin series with Gould and Johns at the helm.

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