Shaun Johnson on his way to the try line in golden point against the Panthers in Round 21.

Instinct took over: Johnson

It was the type of clutch play we have become accustomed to seeing from Shaun Johnson, and post-match he put his game-winning try down to not overthinking what was in front of him.

With two failed field goal attempts already behind him in the match – one a clean miss and the other charged down – Johnson elected to pull the pin on a third as the final minute of golden point ticked away.

Match report: Johnson golden try sinks Panthers
Warriors v Panthers: Five key points

 


Instead he put his lightning-quick feet to work in a 20-metre run which saw him slice through and score the game-winner in a 20-16 victory over the Panthers.

"It's funny, I learned from a few weeks ago actually (in a 15-14 golden point loss to Manly where he had an attempted field goal charged down), where I wished I actually did that, sort of just beat that first player and then just let instinct take over," Johnson said.

"I watched the tape from there and I was happy I could do that tonight.

"[Tonight] I obviously got charged down the play before... I knew they were always going to get to me.

"You probably don't expect to score a try off it but I was glad I could come up with that play.

"I actually looked wide [initially], I knew that the defence was going to come in and I think I pumped the ball and they sort of held off, so I went for it."

Twice in the match the Warriors surrendered commanding leads – going into half-time 10-2 up and holding a 16-8 lead with 15 to go – only to be run down and face golden point for the third time in their last four games.

Poor execution in the final minute of regulation time, and then inside golden point, saw the Warriors fluff three field goal attempts, prompting Johnson to joke "I guess I can't kick a drop goal, so I scored a try instead."

The Kiwi international halfback said the result was a crucial one, given the club had suffered consecutive golden point losses, which saw them drop out of the NRL Telstra Premiership top eight. 

 "I don't know where our heads would be at if we lost that one to be fair, I don't really like to think about that," Johnson said.

"But it was massive for us going forward, we need to use that win for something bigger.

"Obviously after the last few weeks we have had it's really nice to come home, play at home firstly, and actually win one in golden point, it's very pleasing.

"Everyone contributed tonight and everyone played their part."

Meanwhile Warriors coach Andrew McFadden praised the performance of Johnson, who aside from his golden-point heroics controlled proceedings well for much of the Round 21 clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

Along with halves partner Thomas Leuluai, Johnson helped the Warriors to 530 kick metres and five repeat sets against the Panthers.

"I thought he was very good, he controlled the game," McFadden said of Johnson.

"Our dominance probably stemmed from the way our halves were controlling the performance. 

"We asked lots of questions of the opposition and to their credit they scrambled."