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Andrew Johns fears crackdown will "decide who wins Origin"


Andrew Johns has strongly stated that he’s against the NRL's fierce crackdown on high-hits.

The eighth Immortal believes the NRL's approach is purely a reaction out of a “fear of getting sued” and he feels the new interpretation could even decide the upcoming State of Origin games.

Johns appeared on SEN 1170’s Morning Glory with Matty Johns to explain why he’s unsure about the new approach on high tackles.

“I think it’s policy on the run,” Johns said.

“For me, they can talk about this and that.. worrying about kids and perception of parents.

“For me it’s just a fear of getting sued.

“Look what happened in the NFL with the billion dollar settlement.

“I think doctors and lawyers have lent on the NRL and they’ve really reacted.”

The rugby league great explained how he is worried that the NRL’s prize showpiece, State of Origin, could be under threat and decided by referees due to “soft sin-binnings”.

“The worrying thing for me is that we’re coming into Origin,” he said.

“Origin is our show piece, it drags in 30 to 40 per cent of people who don’t watch rugby league.

“In Origin there is more fatigue, less penalties, it’s quicker, there’s more intensity the hits are harder.

“Which means the margin for error is even less.

“What if someone lazily gets wrong footed, puts an arm out and clips someone over the nose and is sent to the sin-bin.

“The rules that the NRL have put in place, decide who wins Origin.

“The referees decide who wins Origin.”

Johns also dismissed suggestions that tackling lower will decrease concussions, saying that the majority of his head knocks came from tackling at the legs.

“In my career I was a low tackler, and when I used to play hooker in the middle of the field,” he added.

“I would stand tall and cut blokes in half. 90 per cent of my concussions were from dropping my head and hitting hips, elbows and knees.

“I think the only time I got knocked out with the ball was when Sonny Bill (Williams) fed me in my last year.

Johns also expressed his opinion on the NRL’s belief that there is less fatigue than previous years.

“For the NRL to come out and say that there's less fatigue this year is absolute spin,” he continued.

“If they were serious about looking after kids the perception of mothers they would’ve brought weight divisions in 10-15 years ago.”

Despite legends of the game speaking out against the crackdown, the new approach won’t be going anywhere any time soon as the NRL aims to take high shots out of the game.

Listen to the full discussion here:

State of Origin

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