The plot continues to thicken after Matthew and Andrew Johns put their hats into the ring to coach the Samoan national rugby league team.

After Matty dropped a bombshell by revealing he and Andrew wanted to coach Samoa alongside Sonny Bill Williams, Samoan footy bosses came out strongly in support of their current coach Matt Parrish, despite having lost eight of their last nine matches.

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Some Samoan players are reportedly no fans of Parish and while the country is struggling on the field, part of the reason why can come down to the players who don't play for the team despite being eligible.

With a large contingent of Pacific Islands players in the NRL, Fox League's NRL 360 revealed a possible team for Samoa which would be stacked with talent.

Damn, that's a good team.
Damn, that's a good team.

What's wrong with Samoa?

There have been calls for change with many in rugby league believing that Samoa could be a world powerhouse similar to Tonga if they made a change at the top.

Tonga shocked the world with wins over New Zealand, Great Britain and Australia within the last five years as players like Jason Taumalolo have pledged allegiance to the national team.

It comes as Queensland and Australian forward Josh Papalii told foxsports.com.au that he would "100 per cent" play for Samoa, even if it meant turning his back on the Maroons and Kangaroos.

"There are different emotions," he said. "When I play for Australia it's the country I was raised in. When you play for Samoa you invest a lot more, because I'm representing my parents, it's what I am. It's more than a team.

"There are some pretty big names who are keen to jump on board and help Samoa be where they should be.

"Everyone is talking about how good Tonga has been, but the question is, why aren't we able to do what Tonga has done?"

Papalii also revealed he had received regular texts from some of the best players in the game saying they would join Samoa if there was a shake-up.

 

Discontent among players over the current coach and set-up has been brewing. Stars including Anthony Milford, Joey Leilua, Jarome Luai and Josh Papalii were among 34 current and former players who wrote to the Samoan Prime Minister Tuiaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, demanding Parish and his coaching staff be sacked - a development first revealed by The Daily Telegraph.

Parish responded by saying the players were "coerced" into signing the petition.

But NRL veteran Iosia Soliola, who was one of the men who signed the document, denied that claim and said the letter had "questioned the side's progression since 2013", with six wins and a draw in 20 matches since the beginning of Parish's tenure.

"We are questioning whether the affairs that are going on - are they really fair dinkum? Are we happy with that? We think it's in the best interests of Samoa that we explore having a change," Soliola told foxsports.com.au.

"It's the definition of insanity if you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result."

A letter written to the Prime Minister of Samoa.
A letter written to the Prime Minister of Samoa.

'Catastrophic': Big Willie fires up

Speaking on his podcast The Take with Willie Mason, the former NRL star alleged Kiwi Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was on the verge of playing for Samoa in the 2017 World Cup.

"He found out Parish was going to be coach, 'Not playing'," Mason said. "All it was going to take was one player like that and how highly regarded he is in the game, like a Taumalolo and what he did for Tonga, and (Andrew) Fifita, and everyone went across. It's put Samoa sixth or seventh in the world."

Mason said the strongest Samoan side would "nearly beat an Australian side".

Mason also called for the Samoan board members to be sacked "because you're going to hold that nation back".

"If they f*** this up, this could be catastrophic," Mason said. "Can you imagine if Papalii goes, 'I'm not going to play for Australia', Payne Haas goes, 'I'm not going to play for Australia', Tino Fa'asuamaleaui goes, 'I'm not going to play for Australia'? Can you see what kind of message this sends to these youngs kids back in the islands?

"Look at the ripple effect it's going to make. Look 10 years down the track, don't just look right now, that's all they're looking for. It's really political and f***ed up."

Mason continued, asking how Parish "is still in the coaching system".

"He's failed, it's over," Mason said, adding that Parish should "stand down for the greater good of that nation".

Matty lays out blockbuster plan

The Johns boys after winning the 1997 Grand Final.
The Johns boys after winning the 1997 Grand Final.

Speaking on Sunday Night with Matty Johnstwo weeks ago, one half of the legendary brothers revealed that they, along with Sonny Bill Williams, would definitely consider taking up the coaching role.

"We would do it for nothing. Quite seriously, and Joey is the same, you wouldn't take a cent. Sonny wouldn't," Matty said.

"It would be a bit of three-way coaching. I don't know how it would work, but in my opinion Samoa should be emulating what Tonga are doing."

Last week it was reported by NRL 360's Paul Kent many players would join Samoa if Parish was ousted.

Players reportedly have gripes about Parish's alleged lack of professionalism in camps.

"There is a legion of Samoan-eligible players that have declared privately they would play for Samoa if Matt Parish is not the coach," Kent said.

"The Johns boys started with a conversation between Andrew and Sonny Bill Williams about this untapped potential and about Samoa wanting to emulate what Tonga have done in recent years, where a lot of players who were eligible for Australia and New Zealand have committed themselves to Tonga, which culminated in them beating Australia in a Test.

"There is a theory that Samoa, with the same sort of commitment, could have the same impact, but they won't do it with the current coach."

The Australian's Brent Read said it would be "absolute madness to not get the Johns boys and Sonny Bill Williams. Absolute insanity".

"It shouldn't be about Matt Parish," he added. "This is an opportunity to have Sonny Bill Williams and Andrew and Matty Johns coaching your footy team. Regardless of Matt Parish and whether he's done a good or bad job, you can't turn that down."

 

 

Originally published as Johns bros caught in explosive civil war

34 current and former players signed the letter.
34 current and former players signed the letter.