Andrew Johns and his brother.
Andrew Johns and his brother.

Blues star cries ‘stitch-up’ in Matty sledge

TOM Trbojevic was happy to gun Matty Johns in his post-match interview after NSW's famous victory in State of Origin II - but he'd changed his tune when confronted about it by the man himself on Monday morning breakfast radio.

The Blues winger claimed on Monday morning he was stitched up by rugby league's eighth immortal when he delivered a hilarious sledge at Matty Johns during an interview at ANZ Stadium with Channel 9.

Johns, an assistant coach working with Brad Fittler during the Blues' Origin camps this series, was having a good laugh with Trbojevic after the game when he asked the Manly star known as "Tommy Turbo" how it felt to feature in a NSW series win alongside his brother Jake Trboojevic.

His response was a brutal shot at Matthew Johns - fired completely out of the blue - poking fun at Matthew's impact in the Origin arena compared to his brother.

"And you get to do it with your brother, how does that feel," Johns asked.

Shots fired.
Shots fired.

Trbojevic replied: "You would know the feeling mate. It's pretty awesome. He (Matthew) did nothing for you, but lucky Jake's here with me."

The moment didn't go unnoticed by the Fox League star - and it left Trbojevic squirming when confronted on Triple M's Grill Team.

"Joey stitched me up there a beauty," the Manly star said.

Johns was more than happy to laugh the whole thing off.

"Good on you Tommy and you know what? You're dead right, mate," he said.

It wasn't the only moment of chaos on the show on Monday.

An interview with Blues playmaker James Maloney didn't last long when the star No. 6 struggled to piece sentences together, still feeling the fatigue of a long night of celebrations.

"Jimmy, you sound particularly rough this morning," Johns said of Maloney's gravelly voice.

"The Trbojevic's sounded like they were about to go to church and Jimmy Maloney sounds like he's coming back from hell."

Fittler wouldn't have minded any of it.

The victorious rookie coach's only concern after the big win was the NRL's decision to alter the State of Origin schedule to include a Sunday night game.

Fittler has warned the NRL not to tinker too much more with their "jewel in the crown".

A sold out crowd of 82,223 packed ANZ Stadium to witness the first Origin played on a Sunday night since 2001 and only fourth in history.

Fittler paid tribute to them, saying their support helped the Blues clinch just their second series victory in 13 years with an 18-14 game two triumph. However he was wary of the NRL making any more changes to the format due to player welfare concerns.

The 34 combatants only had a seven-day preparation for the Sunday clash in contrast to the 10-day lead-up to the traditional Wednesday evening Origin.

"There's going to be a lot of debate (over Sunday night Origin). The one thing that is important is that we don't disrespect the product of State of Origin," Fittler said.

"The reason why the quality is always here is the turnaround, you have time with teams.

"We had a wonderful international game (Pacific Tests) and the women's (Origin) game was brilliant (on Friday night) but you can't turn away from the fact that State of Origin is the jewel in the crown outside our grand final.

"If you want to keep improving the product you need to give them time to rest and recover - that's one of the main reasons why the quality keeps improving and you get a performance like that (on Sunday night).

"We have to make it work. I don't know how." Apart from the result, Queensland captain Greg Inglis had no problem with Sunday night Origin.

"I think both teams have the right people in place to make sure players are well prepared for Origin - if you are not ready for Origin you shouldn't be in this arena," he said.

Maroons coach Kevin Walters reckoned the shorter turnaround even benefited his team as they tried to back up from their 22-12 series opening loss. "It probably helped us a little bit. We wanted to get back out on the field and try to challenge again after a game one loss," he said.

"I thought it worked well for us and we saw a great game of footy. There is every indication it was a success." Game three will be held in Brisbane on July 11 - a Wednesday night.

- with AAP


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