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Andrew Johns revisits famous 'Cattledog' State of Origin brawl


Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has opened up on the famous ‘Cattledog’ fight from the 1997 State of Origin series.

The brawl was initiated by the late Tommy Raudonikis who yelled out the code for an all-in-brawl while he was the coach of NSW.

Johns was knocked out during the fight and he detailed the famous story on SEN 1170 Morning Glory with Matty Johns.

“It was arranged during the week that the first guy to yell out, ‘Queenslander!’, Tommy said he wants someone to yell out, ‘Cattledog!’, which is the (code for) all-in brawl,” Johns said.

“Anyway, we all say, ‘Yeah, yeah’, and we forgot about it.

“Then there was a scrum right on halfway, near the bench at the old Sydney Football Stadium.

“As we were packing the scrum, we could hear Tommy yelling out, ‘Cattledog! Cattledog! Cattledog!’.

“So, at that time I was playing hooker and I was packing into the scrum and Steve Menzies was the back-rower and he was yelling, ‘No cattledog!’.

“But then Spud’s (Mark Carroll) eyes start to roll and Chief’s (Paul Harragon’s) eyes start to roll so Spud goes and packs in with a loose arm.

“Spud goes boom and hits Craig Smith and knocks him out.

“Then I grab (Jamie) Goddard and whack him, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t the right camera angles, but I won the first round, I got about three good hits on him.

“But the next round, I think he got me, he got a few good ones on me.

“When they started to pull us apart he started to sledge me, so I said, ‘Alright let’s go’, and that’s when I walked around the referee and that’s when he landed it on me, knocked me out cold.

“I see the replays now, I’m getting cautioned by the referee and Adrian Lamb’s the Queensland captain and he’s looking at me and my lip was split right from my lip up to my nose.

“So, I go in the sheds and I’m getting stitched up at this stage by Dr. Nathan Gibbs and I say, ‘Mate, what happened?’, and he goes, ‘You’ve been sin-binned’, and I said, ‘How did I go?’, he said, ‘Go have a look at the mirror’.

“Anyway, he stitched me up and I think he put 20 stitches in and then seven on the inside.

“So, I get my phone and I ring (Matty) and I said, ‘Are you watching the game?’, and he’s hysterically laughing and I said, ‘Oh, people will forget’, but he replied, ‘You’ll never live this down’.

“Then I pass out, I’m knocked cold, and this is before concussion protocols, 25 years ago.

“I’m laying on the bench and I fall asleep and next thing I have this smell of garlic, stale beer and Winnie Reds.

“I wake up and Tommy is (that close) to my face and he says, ‘You let me down you weak so and so, get back out there!’.

“He comes over with a big thing of Vaseline and said, ‘Put it on your mouth and get out there, you let me down!’.

“So, I ran back on the field and I couldn’t put my mouthguard on because my lip was so swollen.

“I’m at home now with the kids and I watch that, and it still sends a shiver down my spine.”

Photo: News Corp Australia

State of Origin New South Wales Queensland

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