Matthew Johns has decided not to coach the Samoa men’s team alongside his brother Andrew.
The coaching position for the Toa Samoa team is now open after Matt Parish resigned this week. Parish had led the tier-two team to the final of the Rugby League World Cup last year.
The Johns brothers, who played side by side for the Newcastle Knights in the 1997 premiership-winning team, had previously offered to coach Samoa for free after reports of tension between Parish and the players.
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On Thursday, Andrew shared with Wide World of Sports that he would consider taking on the coaching role in light of Parish’s departure. However, it seems he will not be doing it alongside Matthew.
“Before the World Cup, there were reports that the players had signed a petition stating that they wouldn’t play under Matt (Parish),” Matthew Johns revealed on SEN radio on Friday.
“Our plan was that if this happened right before the World Cup, then Joey (Andrew) and I would step in and coach the team, and we would do it for free.
“Our intention was to coach the World Cup, establish a coaching structure, and bring in some individuals who could then continue the momentum afterwards.
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“The Samoan job requires a full-time coach. It’s not just about coaching; it’s about developing Samoan rugby league.
“The World Cup would have been a perfect opportunity for me considering my work commitments, but unfortunately, that didn’t materialize.
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“As for taking over the team, that ship has sailed. The World Cup was the chance.”
Although Matthew cannot commit to being a head coach, he has expressed willingness to assist Samoa in a part-time capacity if the opportunity arises.
Matthew is recognized as a knowledgeable rugby league analyst and has previously worked with top NRL players such as Cooper Cronk and Cameron Munster, both premiership-winning stars from the Melbourne Storm.
Andrew, on the other hand, is a sought-after halves consultant who currently works with the Newcastle Knights and the New South Wales Blues.
Although the brothers have collaborated closely in various roles before, they reportedly had a falling out after comments made by Matthew on radio during this year’s State of Origin series.
When asked about coaching alongside his brother, Andrew did not speculate while speaking with Wide World of Sports on Thursday.
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Hasibur Rahaman is a passionate sports journalist. He covers everything from cricket to field hockey, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis of sporting events, both within India and on the international stage.