NRL: Shaun Johnson back for Warriors v Storm match

Shaun Johnson is ready to return to action for the Warriors, as they head into a huge clash with the Storm this weekend.

Coach Andrew Webster confirmed that Johnson, who has sat out their last three matches with a pectoral injury, has been included in the match day squad that will be named this evening.

Johnson’s last game was the Warriors’ 38-18 defeat to the Roosters in Sydney on May 12, in which he suffered the injury before halftime but played on and eventually left the field after 70 minutes.

In Johnson’s absence, the Warriors have won three games in a row, with Te Maire Martin in career best form at halfback. It’s a situation that Webster said “will not change anything” for Martin.

“He’s still going to get to play his way,” said Webster.

“Chanel (Harris-Tavita) will still be in the 17 somewhere… we also had Charnze (Niccol-Klokstad) play six, so I think it’s going to be a good combination… Shaun just wants to fit in with what the team needs and then you’ve got a threat on both sides of the field.”

The better you go, the more players you get back, you still have the same challenges in where you fit them all in.

After coming off an impressive 42-12 win over the Cowboys over the weekend, Webster admitted that a change in the halves strategy would have happened regardless of the injury situation.

“Something had to change, I believe that. It wasn’t looking as good as it could,” he said in reference to the teams’ sluggish start to the season.

Te Maire Martin of the Warriors.
North Queensland Cowboys v One New Zealand Warriors, NRL Premiership Rugby League match at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, Australia on Saturday 18 March 2023. Photo: NRL Photos

“I just feel like it’s given Te Maire this confidence with this opportunity.”

Webster also confirmed that while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named in the squad, the centre will sit out this weekend’s fixture as he recovers from a hamstring strain. This means that by the time the side travels to the Gold Coast for a return match against the Titans, Webster may well have a fully fit squad to pick from for the first time this season.

The table-topping Storm currently hold a formidable record over the Warriors, having last tasted defeat way back in 2015. The 10th-placed Warriors almost snapped that streak back in round two this season, with only a spectacular try by Storm wing Xavier Coates in the dying stages separating the sides in a thrilling encounter.

Warriors v Storm

Kick-off: 7:30pm Saturday 15 June (NZT)

Go Media Mt Smart Stadium

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

Warriors (six to be omitted): 1. Charnze Nicoll-Kolkstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jackson Ford 11. Marata Niukore 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tohu Harris (c)

Reserves: 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Dylan Walker 16. Jazz Tevaga 17. Kurt Capewell 18. Tom Ale 20. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 21. Taine Tuaupiki 22. Freddy Lussick 23. Jacob Laban

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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