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18 Feb 2018 12:17
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Replacing Johnson impossible: Foran

    The loss of star halfback Shaun Johnson to injury would be a cruel blow for both the Warriors and Kiwis, teammate Kieran Foran says.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Compensating for the likely injury-enforced absence of Warriors star Shaun Johnson is a near-impossible task, his halves partner admits.

    Kieran Foran could only watch on in horror as Johnson, with his side up 22-18 in the 62nd minute of Friday's clash with Penrith, buckled over chasing an Issac Luke chip-kick and visibly grimaced in pain.

    He limped off as the Warriors slumped to a 34-22 defeat.

    As both the Warriors and Kiwis' playmaker-in-chief, hearts will be in mouths up and down New Zealand until Johnson's condition is made clear.

    The 26-year-old will undergo knee scans on Saturday, with an announcement from the club expected at some point on Sunday or Monday.

    Should Johnson's worst fears be confirmed, his 2017 campaign - and the Rugby League World Cup that follows it - could be over.

    "You can't replace a guy like that. It's going to come down to the leadership group, everyone stepping up a notch - and collectively, everyone will (also) just have to play that little bit better," the 27-year-old Foran said.

    "He was pretty disappointed (in the sheds). It's hard to take any injury, let alone one like that, where it happens all of a sudden."

    After a 2016 season marred by niggling injuries, Johnson has mostly looked the goods in 2017 and benefited from Foran's composed presence.

    He has made 16 try assists this year - the equal highest in the competition to date - as well as nine line breaks and four tries of his own.

    Foran admitted that, after Johnson was replaced by young gun Ata Hingano, everything fell apart for the Warriors.

    They now need a minimum of five wins from their remaining seven matches to stand a chance of qualifying for their first finals since 2011.

    "It's huge to lose a player of Shaun's calibre out there in a tight contest. With 18 minutes to go, it's pretty difficult to adapt," Foran said.

    "In saying that, we should've done a better job.

    "We were still ahead at that point, and we should've been able to close the game out. We just allowed them to break our line too easily."


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