NSW legend Andrew Johns has blasted the Blues’ for failing to target an injured Johnathan Thurston in their State of Origin II loss to Queensland on Wednesday night.
In an extraordinary post-match tirade Johns labelled their second half performance as one of the dumbest halves of football in Origin history.
Johns pointed out how NSW strayed away from a first half assault on Thurston – led by second-rower Tyson Frizell – that set up a 16-6 halftime lead at ANZ Stadium.
The Maroons halfback missed a game-high four of his 13 tackles for the match.
“They had all the running, their gameplan was perfect,” Johns said on the Nine Network post game.
“You got a player out there that can not pick his arm up off the ground and they didn’t target him, his side of the field, or go at the defenders either side.
“If he’s buggered, the defenders either side are so nervous, then you manipulate the holes inside and outside him. But they didn’t go there once, I didn’t know what they were doing.”
Johns, who was part of five series triumphs, was stunned to see the Blues welcome the Maroons back into the game in the second period and reverted to robotic plays.
He accused the Blues of putting the cue in the rack.
“They stopped playing, then they went back to this out-the-back block plays and were no threat. We’ve got JT here who’s shoulder was absolutely buggered,” he said.
“How they didn’t identify that, was rubbish. You can see him there, he can not pick his right shoulder up. That’s the game plan. You just go at him the whole game.”
Johns is adamant Thurston is so injured that he will undergo surgery in the next few days.
“I think he’ll be going in for an operation this week,” he said.
“The way he was holding that shoulder, there’s no way he can continue, which speaks volumes for Thurston and the way he played on.”