Johnson steps his way back into form
With a swivel of the hips and a dive between three Australian defenders Shaun Johnson might just have got his season back on track.
To most it was just a try, but Johnson's touchdown half an hour into the Kiwis' 26-12 victory over the Kangaroos last Sunday represented a return to the confident style which saw him awarded the 2014 Golden Boot.
With 135 running metres, four tackle busts, a try, a line break and 24 tackles without a miss, Johnson had arguably his best game of what has been a frustrating 2015 season.
"It's funny what one game can do," 24-year-old Johnson said.
"It was no fluke what I did on the weekend, Cappy (Warriors coach Andrew McFadden) made it clear to me that I have sort of been building towards that every week that I have been playing for the Warriors.
"I have been trying to say that but obviously people still don't believe me.
"What I did on the weekend for the Kiwis was something I have been trying to do every week here and I have been slowing getting there."
After an opening two months of the Telstra Premiership which has seen the Warriors stumble to five losses and three wins, the week away in Brisbane was just what the doctor ordered.
"I know for us it came at a pretty handy time, just to get away and be part of a different group," Johnson said.
"It's a really relaxed environment [with the Kiwis].
"The week-to-week pressures of footy in the NRL, you are a lot more scrutinised, [but] with the one-off Tests you just get together in camp and really kick back and enjoy your time around the boys. I think it benefits me.
"We were having fun, when you don't win games it's sort of hard to be happy, but I have just got to come back and stick with it, and know that it does work.
"It was just about going out there and playing my game.
"I did a bit of media at the start of last week and I was made well aware of what everyone was saying about me. It wasn't really to [prove it to] them, more to myself that I really did belong in that environment because you sort of start to get convinced that you don't."
Ahead of Saturday's clash with the Sharks at Remondis Stadium, McFadden said Johnson's showing in the black and white jersey had come as no surprise, and that the confidence gained from it would serve him well for the rest of the season.
"To be honest with you he has been building up for that kind of performance for the last month anyway, but unfortunately for Shaun he bares all the weight for our results," McFadden said.
"If we lose a game the first person people point to is Shaun.
"He has been breaking the line and setting stuff up for us for the last month, even his defence has been solid. It's his support around him that we really need to improve."
The Warriors conducted a full training run this morning in Auckland, after being forced to make a last-minute revamp to the schedule when the Test was delayed until Sunday afternoon due to weather conditions.