Matty Johns had a hell of a time keeping Tommy Raudonikis happy ahead of State of Origin III in 1998.
Matty Johns had a hell of a time keeping Tommy Raudonikis happy ahead of State of Origin III in 1998.

‘Get on the f---ing plane’: Tommy Raudonikis tale revealed

MATTY Johns has revealed a hilarious tale involving Blues legend Tommy Raudonikis during the 1998 State of Origin series.

Johns was selected for game one, but dropped for games two and three - "story of my career", as Johns put it on his Fox League podcast.

Ahead of game three, Newcastle had a bye, so Johns was out having dinner and drinks with his teammates when his brother Andrew called him from Blues camp around 9.30pm and asked if he'd heard from Raudonikis, the coach at the time, to which Johns replied "no I haven't"'.

Andrew said Geoff Toovey was "really sick" and it'd been agreed that if he pulled out, Matty was going to play hooker the next day.

Despite having a few beers, Matty Johns rang Raudonikis, who assured him Toovey would be sweet to play: "Of course he'll be okay, don't worry about."

Johns continued on the beers and woke up to a Raudonikis phone call at 9am the next day: "Hey Skippy, it's Tommy. Tooves is no good. I've got to get you down here. You need to get down as quick as you can. I need you here for the 12.30pm meeting."

Raudonikis asks where Johns' nearest airport is, to which Johns replies Belmont Aeropelican in Newcastle's southern suburbs.

"Get there, I'll get a ticket organised," Raudonikis told Johns.

Johns got to the airport as quick as he could and went to check in.

"Hello, how are you going? Matthew Johns on the 11.30am flight to Sydney," he said.

The person on the desk couldn't find his name.

"OK, maybe it's under NSW Rugby League or Tommy Raudonikis or maybe Geoff Carr," Johns said.

Still nothing, so Johns rang Raudonikis.

"'Tommy!' He said 'yeah mate, where are ya?' I said 'mate, there's no ticket'. He said 'I don't give a f---,  get on the plane!' I said 'Tommy, there's no ticket'. He said 'just get on the f---ing plane!"

Johns tolds the lady on the desk he'd pay for the ticket but she told  him the flight was fully booked.

Johns rang Raudonikis again.

"'Tommy, mate the flight's full!' He goes 'I don't give a f---, get down here!'"

The captain hears Johns and taps him on the shoulder and says "just follow me".

Johns recalls: "I walk across the tarmac, get on the plane and I'm sitting in the cockpit on the floor between the two pilots.

"I arrive at Sydney at 12, jump in a taxi and by the time I get to Coogee, it's 12.35pm.

"I run up into the room, Tommy's standing there and goes 'where have you been? It's 12.35pm, you're f---ing fined!'"

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