NRL: Veteran halfback Shaun Johnson poised to reclaim kicking tee when NZ Warriors face Newcastle Knights

Veteran half Shaun Johnson seems poised to take back goalkicking duties for NZ Warriors, when they host Newcastle Knights on Sunday.

The club's alltime leading pointscorer was the primary kicker for their season-opening loss to Cronulla Sharks, but handed the responsibility over to halves sidekick Luke Metcalf for subsequent encounters against Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders.

"Yeah, if he's ready to go... he did a couple today and if he's ready to go, he'll goalkick," confirmed coach Andrew Webster. "He had a little twinge a couple of weeks ago and it would have been dumb to do it.

Shaun Johnson kicks at goal for the Warriors.
Shaun Johnson kicks at goal for the Warriors. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I saw [Penrith Panthers ace] Nathan Cleary didn't do one, when he had a twinge. I think every NRL club goes through that and you want them on the field, particularly when they're your No.7, so you just get someone else to do the job."

Metcalf has slotted 8/10 goal attempts over the past two weeks, converting all three tries in the 18-10 win over the Raiders.

"I thought Luke kicked some big goals on the weekend, so if that happens, we've got good back-up," said Webster. "Shaun's one of the best goalkickers in the comp, but I think Luke will progress into a really good goalkicker and that's what depth is all about."

With injuries at fullback and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck moving from centre to cover the vacancy, the Warriors have another goalkicking option on hand, with Adam Pompey's return to the midfield. Pompey converted 6/7 tries in the playoff win over the Knights last season.

Johnson has had no qualms entrusting the job to Metcalf.

"I haven't really thought about it," he admitted. "Goalkicking is not too high on the priority list.

"It's something we've got some pretty good kickers, so I feel like it's pretty well looked after. 

"Luke's been really good, he puts a lot of work into it and he loves being the goalkicker. He's like a little fan, growing up as a kid wanting to kick goals.

"When he found out I wasn't kicking, he was, 'like, 'Yes!', he got quite excited. I'll have to let him down gentle, but just assure him it's not my decision."

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