NRL Immortal Andrew Johns has abruptly resigned from his role at the SEN radio network as tensions rise from his recent on-air dispute with his brother Matthew Johns. The brothers, who frequently clash, have been unable to resolve their differences after a heated argument preceding the State of Origin series opener last month. Matthew Johns, a Fox Sports personality who hosts the Morning Glory program, praised the coaching skills of Queensland mentor Billy Slater, which triggered Andrew Johns‘ frustration. Andrew Johns, a member of the NSW Blues coaching staff, has stated that he will not return to the airwaves in 2023, leaving SEN station boss Craig Hutchison hopeful for a resolution after the Origin series concludes.
On June 9, Andrew Johns did not appear at SEN’s Walker St studios in North Sydney for the second consecutive week. Matthew Johns hinted at his brother’s absence before the show, stating, “I’m just going to leave the studio door open… if he walks through the doors at one minute to nine then he does, if he doesn’t we will just have to make do.” During the episode, neither Matthew nor respected sports journalist Andrew Webster addressed the ongoing conflict between the siblings. Andrew Johns‘ irritability peaked when Matthew’s comments about Billy Slater, praising Queensland, incensed him. On live radio, Andrew vented his frustration, saying, “Mate, I’m sick of you rapping Queensland, that’s what I’m sick of… Put your Maroon jersey on, you should have some at home. Just because you played four games and lost all four doesn’t mean you need to s**t bag NSW.”
Earlier this month, Matthew Johns confirmed that his brother was still unwilling to reconcile. He said, “Houston, we have a problem, it’s official, my brother is completely off me. There were rumors he might not come. I thought the last three weeks of him not returning phone calls was laziness… He is off me. This is nothing new for me and Joey (Andrew). We were forced to share a bedroom for 19 years. We’ve had a fill of each other. Every six months, we have a blue like this.”
While Matthew’s State of Origin career was short, Andrew played 23 times for the Blues, delivering a legendary man-of-the-match performance in Game Two of the 2005 series. The two brothers have frequently clashed over the years, although most of their conflicts have been good-natured.
In July of last year, Matthew took advantage of a radio debate about the State of Origin to take a harsh jab at Andrew’s love life. The NSW team is known for dropping players from their squad regularly, often when fans believe they don’t deserve to be let go. In contrast, Queensland has a reputation for showing more loyalty to their players. Matthew used Andrew’s personal experience, being in his third long-term relationship, to illustrate the Blues’ selection process. He stated, “‘It’s very NSW. I want people to know… be extremely concerned. Don’t marry anyone from NSW because we fall in love with new acquaintances very easily. What you do is you just get rid of them. Just bring someone else in. I mean, the best example is our best ever player, Andrew Johns, I think he’s onto his third wife.”
The ongoing feud between Andrew and Matthew Johns adds a layer of tension and drama to the State of Origin series, which is already highly anticipated by rugby league fans across Australia. As these two influential figures in the sport continue to clash, it remains to be seen whether they can put their differences aside and find common ground. While their conflicts can sometimes be entertaining to witness, it is also a reminder that family dynamics can impact even the most successful and accomplished individuals in sports.