Joey and Freddy reveal silent playing days
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Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler have revealed that during their playing days they didn't speak to each other during the rugby league season.
Current NRL stars are generally friendly once the final whistle blows, but Johns and Fittler opened up on the fierce rivalry among opposing players during the 1990s and early 2000s.
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"We're really good friends, great friends, even when we were playing, but I never spoke to him during the year," Johns revealed on Wide World of Sports' Freddy and the Eighth.
"At all. At all," Fittler confirmed.
"We'd see each other at a promo, really friendly, great to see you and everything," Johns continued.
"And then during Origin period, sometimes room together and work together and obviously love that six weeks.
"But other than that, never spoke. Never hung out together. You see everyone now, everyone's pals."
Johns has been critical of the over-friendly modern players that have affected the lack of great rivalries in the modern era.
The feuds between players like Paul Harragon and Mark Carroll on and off the field seem to be a thing of the past.
Fittler said that he broke his in-season communication rule just once.
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The exception was Ryan Girdler, his old Penrith teammate, when both players knew that they were retiring at the end of the 2004 season.
"Every week I'd just send a text and we'd say, '25 weeks to go, 24 weeks to go'," Fittler said.
"That was it. Didn't speak, just a text. That was just a little bit of a driver, just keep going. That was the only time I've spoken to a player ever in the year."
Johns recalled a clash between the Knights and the Roosters in which Fittler played with an infected, swollen lip.
Johns proceeded to send Newcastle forwards Ben Kennedy and Steve Simpson to run at Freddy all game.
"We used to go hard at each other, didn't we?" Johns said.
"It was great," Fittler replied.
"I reckon one of the real keys, too, we both had really good back-rowers through a really long period.
"Having good, strong, fit back-rowers really helps you as a half, because then I get to throw Fitzy or someone [the ball] and then Joey's got to tackle him.
"All of a sudden, you drain a bit of energy. Having good back-rowers makes a half's job so much easier."
Originally published as Joey and Freddy reveal they didn't say a single word to each other during NRL playing days