Shaun Johnson kicking himself into takeover mode at Cronulla Sharks
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/110862652/-

2019-02-25 22:10:56

Shaun Johnson is already putting his hand up for extra responsibilities with the Sharks in 2019.

Chad Townsend, a former Warriors and now Sharks team-mate of Johnson's, has confirmed the Kiwis halfback will relieve him of the goal-kicking duties.

Johnson – a shock off-season departure from the Warriors in November – taking over the kicking from Townsend comes as no huge surprise.

He was the Warriors regular goal kicker when Townsend was at the Auckland-based club between 2014 and 2015.

But the pair performed with a similar strike-rate in 2018.

During last year's NRL season, Johnson kicked 61 goals from 80 attempts for a 76.2 per cent success rate with Townsend's 62 goals from 84 attempts netting him a 73.8 per cent strike-rate.

Townsend is happy to hand over the goal-kicking to Johnson.

"Shaun will start with the goalkicking," Townsend told NRL.com.

"I'll be back-up, and that's fine with me. I'm team first but if the coaching staff want me to come in and take a shot now and then, I'm totally fine with that."

Johnson will begin the role on Saturday when he makes his Sharks debut against the Knights at Maitland.

"I'm excited. I've obviously played two seasons with him previously but then I was 22-or-23-years-old and I feel I'm a lot older and more mature now," Townsend told NRL.com.

Townsend, who played 41 games for the Warriors, and Johnson will get their first litmus test against the Knights halves pairing of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga.

"There's been a lot of talk about them and the changeup there at the Knights. You want to play against the best players and there's a lot of buzz about them," Townsend said.

In the last three seasons at the Sharks, Townsend has had a number of different halves partners.

He formed a premiership winning combination with James Maloney and also formed solid bonds with Matt Moylan and Trent Hodkinson.

"Personally for myself, I've come a long way. I've played nearly 10 finals matches and I've got that experience under my belt.

"My role won't change too much in terms of on-field processes but I'm sure looking forward to playing alongside him [Johnson] again.

"It's going to be good. It's a bit odd we play this weekend and then again in round one but I'm looking forward to it," Townsend told NRL.com.

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