Johns brothers comment on taking over World Cup finalists Samoa

It has been three weeks since Matt Parish stood down as Samoa head coach while some key candidates have relinquished their interest in the role.

Finishing last year’s World Cup as finalists will undoubtedly go down as Rugby League Samoa’s greatest achievement to date. 

But it was not enough to keep the longest tenured coach in his role following a successful campaign full of whispers. 

The rumour mill was set alight heading into the RLWC last year over suggestions there was a divide between the playing group and coaching staff, when a petition was signed by players to have the coach sacked in late 2021.

The petition reportedly cited a lack of professionalism and poor results under Parish and a lack of respect for Samoan cultural practices and traditions.

Nonetheless, Parish’s side marched into the World Cup Final with a valiant win over England but fell short to Australia in the final.

Prior to the 2017 World Cup campaign Matthew and Andrew Johns both put their hands up to take over the Samoan side, offering up their services for free.

There was even a suggestion they would bring Sonny Bill Williams on board for the fixture. 

But now it’s all said and done, are these three candidates still interested? 

Speaking on SEN 1170 last month Matthew Johns admitted he no longer has the capacity to take on the role on a full-time basis. 

“The World Cup would have been perfect,” Johns told SEN 1170 The Run Home.

“There was talk before the World Cup that the players had signed a petition so they wouldn’t play under Matt. Our thing was that if this happens right before the World Cup, then Joey and I would come in and coach the side, and we’ll do it for nothing.

“Our plan was going in there, to coach the World Cup put a coaching structure in, take some guys in who can then take the baton and the momentum and keep going.”

However, with the brothers reportedly still not talking over an on-air radio dispute, Andrew Johns has confirmed he is still interested in the coaching role. 

“Let the dust settle for a little while and have a really good think about it,” Johns told the Wide World of Sports’ Immortal Behaviour podcast.

“I’m a big advocate and big supporter of the Polynesian islands… we need more international footy and we need more footy for the island nations.

“I’d have to have a good think about it.”

While it is still unknown whether Sonny Bill Williams remains interested, Salford Red Devils assistant coach and former New Zealand and Samoan international Krisnan Inu admits there is more than meets the eye with the Samoan head coaching role. 

“It would be awesome to be a part of, although I haven’t chucked my name out there as I’m still learning,” he said. 

“You’ve got to earn the respect of the boys and the culture; it makes life easier as a coach and the way that the boys play.

“I’m the little fish in a big pond.

“I wouldn’t say no, but at the same time it is whatever suits the boys – the players, it’s more of a culture thing.”