Matty Johns sits down with one of the most gifted, yet polarising athletes in Australian sports history – Anthony Mundine .
7 April, 2021
7 April, 2021
Can’t wait to miss this one
love ya unk, lotta you guys will only ever see lights camera action choc but the guy is dead set loyal to the soil and always helps when he can
NRL legend Matty Johns opens up about his turbulent friendship with Anthony Mundine and what he really thinks of embattled star Sam Burgess
By Kylie Stevens For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 20:26 AEST, 7 March 2021 | Updated: 22:35 AEST, 7 March 2021
Former NRL star turned television host Matty Johns has confronted one of his fiercest rivals over the incident which sparked one of the biggest stars to walk away from the game.
Former rugby league and boxing champion Anthony Mundine recently sat down for a candid chat with the Fox League host as part of his new program Face to Face with Matty Johns, which premieres this week.
Johns also hopes to lock in troubled ex-NRL star Sam Burgess for his new show once his ongoing legal dramas are over.
While Mundine and Johns are good mates today, it wasn’t the case during their playing careers two decades ago.
Matty Johns has opened up about his friendship with former bitter league rival Anthony Mundine.
Mundine, then 25, abruptly walked out of the St George Illawarra Dragons midway through the 2000 season after he was snubbed by NSW Blues selectors for the State of Origin series.
Selectors opted for Johns in favour of flashy and outspoken playmaker Mundine, who played in all three Origin games 12 months earlier.
Mundine accused selectors of racism because of his Aboriginality and never played another rugby league game at the highest level.
The snub came just months after Mundine was overlooked for the 42-man Australian tour of England at the end of the 1999 season.
Fox league host Matty Johns has opened up about his relationship with Anthony Mundine, who blamed Johns for him quitting rugby league in 2000.
Mundine ‘blamed’ Johns as the reason he gave the sport away and candidly admitted to the Fox League host that ‘after [Johns] got picked ahead of him, he just said ‘if that bloke’s getting picked ahead of me, I’ll give it away’.’
Johns concedes he used to be offended by Mundine’s claims but takes a different view.
‘Now I look back and I think ‘he’s probably got a point, but I don’t say that in the interview’,’ Johns told News Corp.
'I do say: ‘Do you really think you were better than me? And it won’t surprise you to learn he said ‘yes’.’
Mundine was still miffed about missing out on the chance to wear the green and gold 15 years on.
‘Tell the people I was robbed of Australian Jersey! Chris Anderson said I never got picked cause of my off-field characteristics??? WTF? I never done nothing but spoke my mind and be confident,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph via text message in 2015.
‘That’s what made me leave league at my prime when Daley and Fittler were injured and everyone was saying here’s my chance … and they picked Matthew Johns!’
Anthony Mundine was one of the biggest stars in rugby league in the 1990s until his abrupt exit midway through the 2000 season
Mundine and Johns buried the hatchet some time ago at an indigenous event in regional NSW.
‘Myself and Andrew (his brother) got invited to National Aboriginal Week in Wellington, Aaron Peterson and Christine Anu were there as well as a lot of Indigenous leaders,’ Johns told Triple M’s The Grill Team in late 2018.
'I got to know Choc there. We became good mates from that time on, regardless of the rivalries, regardless of me being picked in front of him when at times I maybe shouldn’t have been.
‘We’ve always been good mates.’
Johns also admitted on air at the time that he ‘maybe shouldn’t have been’ selected over Mundine for the 2000 Origin series, which NSW won 3-0.
Johns was cautious about weighing into ongoing sagas surrounding former South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess, who recently allegedly tested positive to cocaine and driving offences on the way to collect his two children from his ex-wife Phoebe.
Matty Johns says he and former bitter rival Anthony Mundine buried the hatchet some time ago and are now good mates.
Matty Johns has extended an open invitation for a sit down interview with troubled NRL star Sam Burgess (pictured leaving court in February) once his ongoing legal drama sare over
The latest incident came three weeks after Burgess was found guilty of intimidating his former father-in-law Mitch Hooke outside the Hooke family home.
Johns revealed that he ‘sat down with Sam for an hour last year’ before the latest controversies unfolded.
‘I’m a mate of Sam’s and I don’t see myself as a bloke who knocks around with mugs. There’s a lot that’s been going on and everything, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about it,’ Johns said.
‘When it’s all over, if Sam would allow me to, I’d love to do an interview with [him].’
Johns has sat down with former Newcastle Knight teammate turned club boss Danny Buderus, former code-hopper Karmichael Hunt and NRL boss Peter V’landys for the program, which premieres on the eve of the 2021 season kick-off.
Face To Face with Matty Johns premieres this Wednesday at 7.30pm on Fox League.
Cinderella Man: Russ and Choc’s secret camp
By Brad Walter
May 16, 2006
A SECRET training camp at Russell Crowe’s Coffs Harbour property has helped prepare Anthony Mundine for tomorrow night’s eagerly awaited bout with Danny Green at Aussie Stadium.
Mundine, who last Thursday addressed Crowe’s South Sydney team at the request of the Oscar winner, had only days earlier returned from a two-week camp widely believed to have been at a remote Aboriginal settlement in northern NSW where his famous father was born and raised.
But the Herald can reveal that the Man spent up to a week of his time in northern NSW at Crowe’s ranch, with members of the former league star’s entourage spotted around Nana Glen when they were supposed to be at Baryulgil, near Grafton.
The Herald visited the Mundine camp at Baryulgil three weeks ago but other media that turned up a week later were reportedly unable to find the former NRL star.
Crowe’s property had previously hosted training camps for the Rabbitohs, a celebrity cricket match featuring Shane Warne and Steve Waugh, and a barbecue attended by some of Australia’s greatest female athletes to celebrate Souths’ return to the NRL in 2002.
The new Rabbitohs boss, after members voted to sell him and business partner Peter Holmes a Court a 75 per cent stake in the football club, also spent five months there training for the lead role in the film Cinderella Man. Coincidentally, he prepared to play boxer Jim Braddock in similar fashion to the way Mundine has been training for the Green fight, by working out in the open air.
An outdoor gym was built on the ranch, where Crowe’s parents live, and he gained fitness by mountain climbing, biking and chopping wood. He ran along bush tracks on the extensive property and it’s thought likely Mundine did the same after pounding dusty roads each morning.
Punching bags and speed balls reportedly hang outside, while Crowe had a boxing ring set up that he regularly used for sparring sessions. The ring was later donated to the Coffs Harbour Police and Community Youth Club and transported to Baryulgil for Mundine to use.
One of the concerns within the Mundine camp was the springiness of the ring but the facilities at Crowe’s property are understood to include a sandpit that would have the opposite effect.
Meanwhile, both fighters have wound down their training in the lead-up to on of the biggest events in Australian boxing, with Green having his last sparring session against Sam Soliman on Saturday. Soliman sparred about 60 rounds against Green during his preparation for the fight. Mundine had his final sparring session last Thursday night.
Both fighters will attend tonight’s Aussie Stadium weigh-in, but it is unclear if they will turn up together for the first time after so far avoiding each other.
They have never met, but WBA superviser Derek Milham said yesterday each would be expected to be present when the other hopped on the scales.
Meanwhile, the weather forecast is for a fine night, boosting hopes for a record Australian boxing crowd of 40,000.
EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Mundine tips son CJ to make NRL debut soon
By Sacha Mirzabegian
Mar 18th, 2021
Now that Anthony Mundine has sailed into the sunset for the final time (so he says), the former Dragons star’s new mission involves helping today’s youth and spending more time with his family.
And no doubt that involves investing in making his son CJ’s dream of playing in the NRL a reality.
CJ Mundine is in the second year of a two year deal he signed with Souths in 2019 and has been named at fullback this week for the Rabbitohs’ NSW Cup team to play Blacktown.
CJ joined South Sydney after impressive performances donning the same No.6 jersey as his famous father for St George’s SG Ball team before shifting to the Matraville Tigers, where he played alongside Anthony in the Souths Juniors A-grade competition. Souths were among six clubs reportedly chasing the services of CJ, who is a fullback/five-eighth.
Anthony Mundine has strong links to the club and shares a friendship with owner Russell Crowe and also won a premiership with the Broncos in the 1997 Super League season under current Souths coach Wayne Bennett.
Mundine knows about the weight of expectations when you’re trying to make a name for yourself in a sport your father dominated. That’s the task laying ahead for his son.
“He’s got all the talent in the world, he shouldn’t have no problem playing NRL,” he told Wide World of Sports.
"He’s a fullback. He plays a little bit like Matt Bowen. He plays like him has the same style. He’s got speed, pace and good vision. He also backs up really well.
“It shouldn’t be too long - maybe six months or so.”
Does he play like his old man?
“There’s only one ‘Man’ Mundine,” he added. “There will never be another me. I was the best ever.”
Souths won the race for CJ’s signature because of their bright future and the club’s record with the Indigenous community, according to Mundine. Now that his athletic career is over, a big part of ‘The Man’s’ next mission involves addressing racial inequality, he says. While the NRL does everything right on a corporate level to convince the public the code condemns any form of racism, the residual impact of societal discrimination trickles down.
For instance, while Indigenous players are often lauded on the playing field for their freakish athletic abilities and fast-twitch fibres, opportunities for minority or Indigenous candidates within the coaching structure of the sport are limited.
Apart from Laurie Daley and Mal Meninga coaching at Origin level along with Beetson, who coached the Roosters in three separate stints across three decades in addition to taking charge of the Sharks, there has been a lack of diversity among the head coaching ranks at the top level. Although there are several up and coming coaches coming through the ranks.
Justin Hodges will coach the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup and coached the Maroons in Under 20s. He has also been an assistant to the senior side. Former Kangaroos five-eighth and Tonga coach Jim Dymock is an assistant with the Titans, while Ron Griffiths is one of the few Indigenous coaches working in the Telstra Premiership.
The lack of diversity in the upper echelons of every industry is a problem felt across the world and most sports leagues. In 2003, The NFL introduced the ‘Rooney Rule’ which mandates that every team interviews at least one or more diverse candidates. The rule was extended in 2009 to include general manager jobs and front office positions.
According to Mundine the NRL needs to look into adopting a similar system.
“I definitely think so,” he said. "We need more diversity within the coaching system. It’s just years and years of tradition. As long as I can remember it’s been like that.
“It’s all about control. It’s part of society and reflects the system. Privilege shouldn’t keep out a certain race. It’s very important for the Indigenous players to have Indigenous coaches.”
As you’d expect Mundine believes he can also be ‘The Man’ with the clipboard.
“I might even put my hand up. I believe if I coached I could lead a team to a premiership. I know the game. I know what it takes to win.”
Sorry @Moon but I think there are a lot of reasons to support Anthony Mundine.
Is that Oscar De La Hoya in a Rabbitoh cap
De La Hoya in Choc’s corner
By By BRAD WALTER
October 12, 2008 — 11.00am
ANTHONY MUNDINE is a step closer to breaking into the tough US boxing market after a meeting in Los Angeles with Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe and pugilistic great Oscar De La Hoya.
Organised by Crowe, the hastily arranged meeting took place on Wednesday at a Pasadena hotel and was also attended by Mundine’s manager, Khoder Nasser, and Raul Jaimes, the executive vice-president of De La Hoya’s company Golden Boy Promotions.
Crowe, who has been a long-time Mundine supporter, was in LA to promote his latest movie, Body Of Lies, while De La Hoya also took time out from preparations for his $US100 million ($145m) welterweight bout with Filipino Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on December 6.
Initially intended to be an introduction over lunch, the meeting quickly turned into a discussion about how to help Mundine establish himself in the US.
De La Hoya, who is the biggest boxing promoter in the US, offered to promote a fight for Mundine next year to boost the two-time super-middleweight world champion’s profile and pave the way for a big-money bout in 2010.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Mundine told The Sun-Herald from Beverly Hills, where he was planning to do some sparring at the famous Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood owned by legendary trainer Freddie Roach before returning to Sydney.
"He just wants to get the right fights to get me exposure and he doesn’t know whether it would be on a pay-per-view card that is televised internationally or getting me to headline a show on HBO - Boxing After Dark or something like that - but it sounds really promising.
"The meeting wasn’t really meant to be about talking business or anything like that, we were just going to go there and whatever goes, goes, but they were really interested and knew a fair bit about my background. Oscar’s obviously an avid boxing fan but I was surprised he knew so much. He jokingly said, ‘Oh, you’re The Man’ and he knew all about my world title fights with [Sam] Soliman and [Mikkel] Kessler and [Antwun] Echols.
“He just sounded very excited that he’s going to have an opportunity to work with me and that was very humbling on my behalf because he is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time and he wouldn’t have shown the interest that he did if he didn’t think I had the potential.”
Mundine’s trip to meet De La Hoya at short notice and his unabashed attempt to lure Danny Green out of retirement for a re-match by taking his next fight against 28-year-old Uruguayan middleweight Rafael Sosa Pintos (31 wins, two losses, 12 knock-outs) to Perth on November 12 prove he is prepared to chase the big fights.
During the meeting, Mundine told De La Hoya he would like to fight the winner of next weekend’s Kelly Pavlik-Bernard Hopkins bout in Atlantic City.
“Oscar said, ‘Those guys wouldn’t fight you because you’re not recognised, you haven’t won any big fights over here, so what you need to do is get the exposure and then once you beat a few names you can start building a reputation’,” Mundine said.
"It’s hard because I’m at a stage where I am a dangerous fighter but I don’t have the exposure or the runs on the board, so I’m prepared to do that, and it’s really exciting on my behalf to know that someone like Oscar De La Hoya is supporting me.
“I also owe a lot to Rusty Crowe for believing in me and supporting me, because if it wasn’t for him this probably wouldn’t have happened.”
Crowe’s hospitality a hit
October 19, 2008
“SOUTHS owner Russell Crowe, stunned the Mundine camp with his generosity with time and money during a Los Angeles visit. Our exclusive story last week revealed that Crowe encouraged Oscar De La Hoya to help Anthony Mundine crack it in the United States. What it didn’t tell you was the lengths that Crowe went to to ensure Mundine and his manager, Khoder Nasser, were comfortable in Los Angeles. “After Russell learnt where we were staying in LA he checked us out of that hotel,” said Mundine. “He put me and Khoder in a bungalow-style room at the Beverly Hills Hotel and made sure we got the royal treatment. He took us on a tour of the hotel and then we went for a long walk with him through LA just talking. We went for a coffee - he’s pretty laidback. That’s all before he set up a meeting with Oscar and his people - I have not met a better or more generous person. He won’t like me saying that, but that’s what he’s like.” Naturally, Crowe picked up the bill, which would have amounted to thousands of dollars. Crowe and Mundine became close when Crowe was training for his boxing movie, Cinderella Man. Mundine is back in Sydney preparing for his coming bout on November 12 at the EG Whitlam Centre in Liverpool.”