New Zealand Warriors coach Nathan Brown says he is “lost” when it comes to the NRL’s six-again and high contact interpretations as Shaun Johnson delivered a hammer blow to his future club’s finals hopes.
Johnson, who will return to his first club on a two-year deal from 2022, almost single-handedly ensured the Warriors won’t make the finals as a first-half masterclass set up Cronulla’s 20-12 win at Kogarah’s Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday.
Shaun Johnson, right, will return to the Warriors next season.Credit:Getty
It was fitting that the last match in the harbour city for an indefinite period was blighted by a pre-game scare when a number of catering staff working with Georges River Council were removed from the venue.
The Warriors were kept on the team bus for about 20 minutes after arriving for the match when the NRL was alerted to a potential complication.
A catering employee of Georges River Council, which runs the Kogarah facility, learned on Sunday morning that she was identified as a casual contact of a positive COVID-19 case. She had already arrived at the venue for work.
A group of other staff members were also sent home from the facility, prompting all food to be thrown out and a deep clean of the area where the employees frequented. Warriors officials were forced to visit local shops to provide food for players before the game.
And even though the Sharks were kept scoreless in the second half, Johnson had the ball on the string kicking the Warriors into corners for their most important win of the year.
“He’s a real key with the consistency he’s playing with,” Hannay said. “He’s probably less the ‘big play guy’ these days and more the veteran half, understanding as he gets older the tempo of rugby league and when to pull the trigger and take a chance and when to play the percentage play.”
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS 20 (Connor Tracey, Braydon Trindall, Braden Hamlin-Uele tries; Trindall 4 goals) defeated NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 12 (Reece Walsh, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tries; Walsh 2 goals) at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton.
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