Joey’s ‘insane’ Origin insomnia to inspire NSW
IT'S 2.30am inside Andrew Johns' Coogee hotel room and the NSW Origin assistant coach is wide awake. Again.
Scribbling down tactics on the hotel-issued notepad sitting on his bedside table.
And it's this late-night handwritten checklist that could help NSW create history by completing their first Origin clean sweep since 2003.
Andrew Johns has revealed how he wakes every night to jot down strategies to give the Blues the edge next Wednesday.
The "insane" Origin insomnia hits this sleepless Knight at the same time every morning as the legendary halfback said the pressure of being a Blues assistant coach had messed with his sleeping pattern.
Johns told The Daily Telegraph he couldn't get back to sleep until his note pad was full.
"I am experiencing (pressure) now, I am getting up through the night and thinking about sets," Johns said.
"I write down sets and things I'm thinking. I just lie there thinking 'this is insane'.
"It's between 2.30am and 3am all the time.
"Your brain is going - that's the thing, you're not switching off. It's 24/7.
"I want to get what it is on my mind down on paper and then it's out of your head.
"If you write it down, it's done. Now I know why they (coaches) go crazy. I eventually go back to sleep."
Johns offers himself some solace.
"I think the other (NSW) coaches are doing it too."
Johns has been a coaching inspiration to NSW.
He brings an incredible football brain and a fiercely competitive reputation the players admire.
Despite his knowledge and experience, Johns was quick to reiterate he had no desire to coach full-time.
"No, no chance, absolutely no chance," Johns said. "Too much pressure.
"But I am working in camp with Bedsy (Danny Buderus) doing a lot of the attack. Origin is different to club level, there is some basic structure but more principle based in how we want to play, just little tips here and there."
NSW will kickstart training this morning after a day off on Wednesday. And Johns will once again be front and centre to pass on his unparalleled wisdom.
"They are easy to like; very likeable group of players. There are a lot of new faces in here so it's a fresh canvas really," Johns said.
"I have loved it. I get excited every day coming here and working with them. They are the elite so you only have to explain things to them once and they get it done.
"They look good, it's a different feel game three, it always is, because they have gone through so much. But they have turned up and they look good. They are a really good bunch of guys, they are really tight, it's good to see."
Halfback Nathan Cleary will back up for his third successive Origin game. He hasn't been spectacular but has done everything asked of him, guiding NSW with aplomb and maturity to a series triumph.
"We all know his potential. For him, I would imagine, it would be a tough period, this is all new to him to him, all the pressure," Johns said. "To emotionally and physically go through it and back up, it's a big test for him but so far he's handling it well."
Asked how far Cleary could rise in rugby league, Johns said: "We don't know, it's up to him. He is in a great system out there at Penrith. We all know the potential, fingers crossed, no injuries, it's up to him how far he gets."
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