NRL 2022: Star half Shaun Johnson believes Warriors can bounce back from horror loss to Cronulla Sharks

  • 10/05/2022

NZ Warriors star Shaun Johnson insists they are close to putting it all together, but concedes there are a slew of concerns to address.

Sunday's dire performance against Cronulla have reawakened worries for the Auckland club, as they fell to a humiliating 29-10 defeat against the undermanned Sharks.

"It was disappointing, very frustrating," Johnson told the NZ Herald. "There are so many parts of our game at the moment that it's compounding another part of our game.

"It is not one thing we have to fix. There are a number of things that will just relieve it and make it a little bit easier for us in the long run, but we have a short turnaround and we've got to brush it off pretty quick."

The Warriors looked in control of the game, scoring two quick tries, after Sharks fullback Will Kennedy was sent off in the 16th minute, but they struggled to challenge Cronulla’s defence from then on, with the home side taking all the momentum into halftime.

Johnson admits the game got away from them and they were unable to execute their gameplan.

"We didn't control the ball when we had the opportunity, didn't build pressure and they probably showed us exactly how it should be done with 12 people… literally to go out there and get into a grind with them.

"Don't look for quick solutions. It's not like we weren't saying the right things, but then when you are out there, you see the spaces, and you push a little pass here and there - it just undoes it all.

"We are [not] too far off in terms of putting together a performance, but it is certainly frustrating when you are not executing exactly what you are saying."

The Warriors struggled for possession throughout the match, boasting just 41 percent and forcing just one line dropout to Cronulla’s five, with Nico Hynes pulling the strings for the Sharks.

Johnson didn’t shy from responsibility as a senior member of the Warriors spine, acknowledging his performance fell far short of the needed quality.

Captain Addin Fonua-Blake vents his frustration against the Shark
Captain Addin Fonua-Blake vents his frustration against the Sharks. Photo credit: Photosport

"I don't think we managed the game well at all," he said. "Just flustered on the last play and it's not good enough… when I pride myself on my last plays and my kicking game.

"I'm a part of that problem. If your halfback cannot kick the ball [for] seven tackles and can just force a repeat there, it just changes things… not throw the ball to the backrower on the last play and ask him to come up with the play, you take it.

"That is me looking at areas that I can improve. If all of us, as a team, can look at where we can improve, next week should be a good one."

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