Star Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson.

Warriors assistant coach Steve McNamara remains hopeful rather than confident that star halfback Shaun Johnson will be fit to take on the Dragons on day two of the Downer Auckland Nines. 

Johnson missed his side's first game against the Sea Eagles on Saturday afternoon after picking up an injury in the warm-up but was expected to be right for the next game against the Eels. 

 

 
However, the crowd favourite was in the stands as his teammates suffered a 17-0 loss to miss the finals for the first time. 

"We're hopeful that with treatment tonight he might be able to play tomorrow. He has a bit of tightness in the groin area so the doctors and physios are looking after him," McNamara said after the game. 

"He felt it as we were warming up so we decided not to take the risk with him.

"I'm not really sure [whether he'll play tomorrow]. I've stayed away from that so the doctors and the physios are working hard and hopefully we can get a positive result with that."

McNamara admitted the Warriors were in a difficult position as tournament hosts to put their best team on the park for every game, but conceded the New Zealanders were more focused on NRL success. 

"I suppose because we're the home team it does make it a bit more difficult for ourselves, but sometimes you have to make tough decisions and the results are all based on what's right for our own squad going forward," he said. 

"I think the silver lining is that some of the younger players have had some valuable experience. They've had to learn some harsh lessons in that second game in particular, and I think that's the biggest lesson for our players. 

"We want a squad that's capable of playing NRL standard, not just 17 or 18 or 19 players. We want a big pool of players to enable us to get through the season and this has been part of the process."