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The Roar


'Better than LEGO': Watch teen swimmer Tommy Neill quote Matty Johns classic after bronze

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29th July, 2021
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Aussie relay swimmer Tommy Neill reprised one of the most memorable quotes in rugby league Grand Final history, by Matty Johns, after he anchored the men’s 4x200m relay team to a bronze medal in Tokyo.

Neill was born five years after Johns appeared in a state of disrepair the morning after Newcastle won the 1997 Grand Final and drunkenly described the victory as “better than LEGO” during a hilariously chaotic interview with Natalie Barr.

On Wednesday, Neill, a Queenslander, was asked by Channel Seven’s poolside reporter, to describe his feelings.
“It was pretty unreal. I was nervous going into that as anchor but I wasn’t going to give away that medal,” said Neill.

“As Matty Johns said back in 1997, it’s better than LEGO.”

It was a stirring swim from Neill as Australia finished third behind pre-race favourites Great Britain and the Russian contingent.

Earlier there was another emotional win by Ariarne Titmus over Katie Ledecky, to give Australia a fourth gold in the pool this Olympics.

“Shit, I’m bloody exhausted,” said Titmus after claiming the 200m freestyle.


“I knew Siobhan wanted to win that race and knew it would be tough to beat her,” shes said after the race.

“It wasn’t the time I wanted to swim but it’s the Olympics and there is a lot going on.

“I feel good, it is crazy to think I’m only halfway through my program here I still have the relay and 800m to go.

“But I’ve got the rest of the afternoon off so I’m going to get some rest and be back ready for tomorrow.”

Her coach, Dean Boxall, was slightly more restrained than in her 400m win, where he reacted like WWE legend the Ultimate Warrior.

Although he has received criticism from overseas fans for that display, the officials have waved away complaints.

FINA executive Dale Neuburger was quoted as saying: “Given the fact that there are there are normally 17,000 spectators here to cause the kind of excitement in the Olympic Games, it’s hard to fault a coach who’s excited about the performance of one of his athletes.

“I would just say that a coach who’s worked with an athlete for years and put in all the hours of preparation and everything else, I think there is a full understanding that there’s a joy that’s that’s hard to describe.”