NRL: Former Warriors star Shaun Johnson ready to entertain at Cronulla
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/111483079/-

2019-03-22 00:11:47

Shaun Johnson has a vision for Cronulla to not just rely on being one of the NRL's best grinders but for the Sharks to also become an entertainment machine in attack.

The former Warriors playmaker will run out for his new team for the second time on Friday night against Gold Coast Titans, with captain Paul Gallen set to equal Andrew Ettingshausen's appearance record in Sharks colours.

The Kiwi halfback is renowned as one of the players with the most flair in the NRL, delivering plenty of highlights-reel moments in his eight-year stint at the Warriors, headlined by the team's run to the 2011 grand final

In contrast, his new club in the Sharks are known for winning tough.

Under old coach Shane Flanagan the team ranked higher in the NRL in defensive tables than they have attack for the past four years - despite reaching the finals in all of those seasons.

"It's good to know we've got that [grinding] base," Johnson said.

"And it's a club that has had that base for a long time now and that's why over the past few years they have been so successful.

"To draw on that when things aren't going great is important, but we want to not have to visit it too much.

"We want to play some exciting footy that gives the crowd what they want to see and at the same time you're having a lot of fun when you're doing that.

"Hopefully we can get towards that this weekend."

The acquisition of Johnson as the team's X-factor, Valentine Holmes' departure and Matt Moylan's move to fullback has given the Sharks three ball-players in attack when including halfback Chad Townsend.

It's also prompted hooker Jayden Brailey to try and take on more of an attacking role, attempting to lurk around Johnson in support play as the game opens up off the five-eighth's brilliance.

Meanwhile, Johnson was adamant his team's attack shouldn't be judged on their first-up loss to Newcastle.

In wet conditions which plagued the entire opening weekend of the season, Johnson put debutant Briton Nikora in for the Sharks' only try but said he was still learning when to inject himself into the team's attack.

"It's going to be something that is going to continue to grow," Johnson said.

"No-one said it was going to be all guns blazing right from the start. We obviously have certain expectations of ourselves and we thought we should have delivered a lot better than we did."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Paul Gallen will play his 328th game for Cronulla, equalling Andrew Ettingshausen.

* Gold Coast have won three of their past four at Shark Park.

* Anthony Don needs one try to become the Gold Coast's most prolific in history.

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