Infotainment Factory: Joey slams fraternizing NRL players

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Joey slams fraternizing NRL players


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Eighth immortal Andrew Johns has called for old-school rivalry to be reinstalled back into the NRL, with the league legend lamenting the fact that players are too friendly with their rivals and that there's "too much love in the game".

Gone are the days where rivalries on the field mirror the relationships off it. Bitter feuds like the one between Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon and Mark ‘Spud’ Carroll are long gone. Both Harragon and Carroll were Blues teammates during Origin in the 1990's but hated each other intensely off the field.

Fast-forward to the NRL in 2019, fans are more likely to see players from rival teams fraternizing with each other before and after games, with hugs and handshakes commonly exchanged between opposing players.

Speaking on Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour, Johns said he disagrees with the way the game has evolved and revealed that during his career he never went out of his way to be friendly to players from opposing teams, even those he considered to be his friends.

"I see players before the game shaking hands, laughing and joking. Hang on you're going out there to bash each other," said Johns.

"I can remember when I was playing, myself and Brad Fittler are really close. I never talked to him during the year. If I'd see him at a game, at the toss of the coin, I'd say 'good luck' and that was it. There'd be no handshakes, no pats on the backside. There's too much love in the game, there's got to be more hate."

Johns said he particularly has a problem with losing players smiling and laughing after being beaten and doesn't see how any competitor could be in that mindset after leaving it all out on the field.

"I remember when I first started playing first grade and our coach sat me down and said 'look if you're playing against one of your best mates, I don't mind you shaking hands and having a chat but if we get beat you shake hands and you go off'.

"I got hammered for being a bad sport because when we'd get beat I wouldn't want to talk to the media. I wouldn't want to chat to players, I'd shake their hands and then get off the field."

Eighth immortal Andrew Johns has called for old-school rivalry to be reinstalled back into the NRL, with the league legend lamenting the fact that players are too friendly with their rivals and that there's "too much love in the game".

Gone are the days where rivalries on the field mirror the relationships off it. Bitter feuds like the one between Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon and Mark ‘Spud’ Carroll are long gone. Both Harragon and Carroll were Blues teammates during Origin in the 1990's but hated each other intensely off the field.

Fast-forward to the NRL in 2019, fans are more likely to see players from rival teams fraternizing with each other before and after games, with hugs and handshakes commonly exchanged between opposing players.

Speaking on Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour, Johns said he disagrees with the way the game has evolved and revealed that during his career he never went out of his way to be friendly to players from opposing teams, even those he considered to be his friends.

"I see players before the game shaking hands, laughing and joking. Hang on you're going out there to bash each other," said Johns.

"I can remember when I was playing, myself and Brad Fittler are really close. I never talked to him during the year. If I'd see him at a game, at the toss of the coin, I'd say 'good luck' and that was it. There'd be no handshakes, no pats on the backside. There's too much love in the game, there's got to be more hate."

Johns said he particularly has a problem with losing players smiling and laughing after being beaten and doesn't see how any competitor could be in that mindset after leaving it all out on the field.

"I remember when I first started playing first grade and our coach sat me down and said 'look if you're playing against one of your best mates, I don't mind you shaking hands and having a chat but if we get beat you shake hands and you go off'.

"I got hammered for being a bad sport because when we'd get beat I wouldn't want to talk to the media. I wouldn't want to chat to players, I'd shake their hands and then get off the field."

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