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20 Jan 2018 18:00
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Johnson hopes return sparks Warriors

    Facing Manly in their last home game of the NRL season, star halfback Shaun Johnson hopes his return from a knee injury can give the Warriors a lift.

    - article from

    Stephen Kearney
    Stephen Kearney

    Star halfback Shaun Johnson is still a bit sore after a knee injury but hopes his return can give the Warriors a lift against Manly in the Auckland club's last home game of the NRL season.

    Johnson, 26, has missed the last five matches since going off with a posterior cruciate ligament complaint in the defeat to Penrith on July 14.

    In his absence, the Warriors have lost every game as part of a seven-match losing streak since early July that has left them 13th on the table.

    With no chance of making the finals anymore, Johnson denies it is a risk to return against the Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

    "Hopefully, I can lift the boys," he said on Wednesday.

    "I wouldn't say I'm 100 per cent - I've said it before, I don't know if anyone playing in the NRL week-in, week-out is 100 per cent - but I'm good enough to play."

    "[And] if I'm fit to go, I'm playing"

    Johnson will resume his halves partnership with Kieran Foran and said there was plenty to play for in the final two rounds, with each hit-out giving a chance to improve ahead of next season.

    "There's periods of every game we've played that I've been able to watch that we've done really well in," he said.

    "Finding that answer as to how you do it consistently every week for 80 minutes is something we are all still searching for."

    As well as welcoming back Johnson, coach Stephen Kearney has Ben Matulino back on deck after the prop completed a one-match suspension.

    Matulino's return offsets the loss of veteran Jacob Lillyman to a season-ending bicep injury suffered against the Rabbitohs.

    Like the Warriors, the Sea Eagles are also looking to arrest a form slump, having had just one win in five, which has put them in danger of missing out on the finals.


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