Johns heads off Origin absence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johns heads off Origin absence

By Brent Read 25/05/2003 09:17:28 PM Comments (0)

NSW's State of Origin campaign is in danger of imploding after Andrew Johns was forced to publicly commit himself to the Blues and hose down talk of a rift with coach Phil Gould.

With State of Origin I less than three weeks away, Johns issued a statement on Sunday through his manager John Fordham in which he committed himself to NSW for this year's series.

However, the statement did little to end conjecture the central figures in NSW's campaign were at loggerheads after they clashed at an Origin team meeting on Wednesday.

Gould did confirm his support for Johns to be retained as captain, but conceded the statement failed to address the issues between the pair.

"In that statement it still doesn't address the items of the conversation we had with Andrew Johns on Wednesday," Gould said on Channel Nine.

"But that's the statement and it's good for rugby league that Andrew Johns is going to play in the series."

Johns and Gould are two of the most headstrong personalities in the game, but the pair managed to work in harmony through last year's series.

The uneasy truce is likely to be tested again when the pair come face-to-face in camp in preparation for Origin I at Suncorp Stadium on June 11.

NSW selectors will name their side on June 2, with Johns certain to retain the captaincy.

"That we may have differing opinions on certain football matters is part and parcel of a relationship between player and coach, team and coach and captain and coach," Johns said in the statement.

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