NRL: Shaun Johnson reveals why his future was always at NZ Warriors after re-signing for another season

While speculation fuelled a potential NZ Warriors exit for then out-of-contract star Shaun Johnson, he revealed his future was always at Mt Smart.

Johnson, 32, re-signed with the Auckland-based NRL club for another season last week, ending rumours of a potential trans-Tasman switch or retirement.

The halfback has been instrumental in the Warriors' resurgence in 2023, guiding them to 11 wins in the first 18 rounds.

With just six matches remaining in a very favourable run-in to the playoffs, Johnson and the Warriors are pushing for a top-four spot.

Despite links elsewhere amidst career-best form, he revealed the decision to stay at the Warriors was always going to be an easy one.

"The Warriors said they have a contract for me, and I was like 'yeah, sweet'," Johnson said. "I made my intentions really clear, that if I was going to play on, it was going to be here.

"When they were able to present something, it was signed, I wasn't going to muck around with it, and it just happened to be last week.

"I'm very excited to obviously be going around again, and to be able to do it here, being back this year, in particular, has just been so special.

"I feel like I'm not ready to hang them up just yet. Feeling really good about the decision, and excited to see how we can finish the year, and obviously knowing that I'm going to be a part of it again next year as well."

Last week couldn't have gone any better for Johnson, with his future secured playing a backseat role to the birth of his second child.

Throw in a resounding win over Cronulla Sharks, and you have a week the star halfback couldn't have scripted any better if he had tried.

"After the game, I was pretty speechless," he said. "Had a few days to process it all, and just enjoy it really, because it was pretty full on.

"It's a week I'll never experience again in my life, we had so much going on, but to be able to cap it off how we did on Sunday, makes it really special.

"It certainly feels [surreal], even just the moment I had with my daughter Milla, being able to share that with her, see her eyes light up when she's what it looks like for me to walk out there.

"To have that moment captured…as a family, Kayla was at home with our little one, and she had a tear wishing she could've been there as well.

"At home, Milla is talking about it, 'Daddy, Warriors game', so, it's just those sorts of moments that as you get older in your career, you certainly value and makes it so special."

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