The New Zealand Warriors faithful have been waiting for prolonged form from Shaun Johnson for a while and they may finally be seeing the consistency.
It was a last-gasp individual effort from Johnson that gave the New Zealand Warriors the win. With the game on the line and needing points, Johnson darted across several Sharks defenders, cut back inside and scored, sealing the win for the Warriors.
There was even more drama before that, with Andrew Fifita also scoring a great solo try for the Sharks which at the time, appeared to be the match-winner.
Fifita’s effort saw the hulking prop evade several defenders and run a good distance, before he planted the ball down and celebrated excitedly.
That was not toe be, though, as per Johnson’s effort, with the win lifting the spirits of Warriors players and fans. The 20-16 win away from home gives the Warriors confidence galore.
There was praise from Warriors coach Andrew McFadden, who described the performance of Johnson as solid.
“I don’t think he can do the stuff he does for 80 minutes, his main job is to get the team around the park and do the solid things – we’re trying to build a solid performance in him which I think he did,” McFadden said.
“It’s those moments where he has to stand up and it’s a real credit to him the way he stood up after the Test.”
That was not the only thing taken out of the game, with both sides having players injured or on report. Anthony Tupou was the biggest casualty, with the back-rower sent to hospital to have scans on a nasty broken jaw injury.
On top of that, both Tinirau Arona and Ricky Leutele left the field for the Sharks with their respective injuries.
For the Warriors, Konrad Hurrell was placed on report for lifting of the leg. Also placed on report was Sami Sauiluma due to a high tackle and perhaps the biggest Warriors casualty was a sternum injury for Manu Vatuvei.
Player of the Game:
3. Shaun Johnson
2. Andrew Fifita
1. Konrad Hurrell.
New Zealand Warriors 20 (Jonathan Wright, Manu Vatuvei, Solomone Kata, Shaun Johnson Tries; Shaun Johnson 2 Goals) defeated Cronulla Sharks 16 (Luke Lewis, Andrew Fifita Tries; Valentine Holmes 4 Goals) at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 13,988. Half-time: 8-all. On Report: Konrad Hurrell (Warriors), Sami Sauiluma (Sharks).