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Johnson trains ahead of imminent return

The Warriors look set to receive a boost for the final two games of their campaign, with star halfback Shaun Johnson tracking ahead of time in his recovery from a knee injury.

‌Johnson ruptured his PCL back in Round 19 against the Penrith Panthers and was expected to be out until the final round of the regular season at the earliest.

But with Johnson already back training in opposed sessions and moving freely, Kearney expects his No.7 to be a chance for next week's clash against the Manly Sea Eagles at Mount Smart Stadium.

"He's even closer now… potentially [next week] yeah, potentially," Kearney said of Johnson.

"He has got to get through a bit of contact and what have you, but he is moving pretty well.

"With a short week for us this week it probably hasn’t worked out in his favour, so we will give him as much opportunity and hopefully he will be alright for next weekend."

The Warriors have capitulated in Johnson's absence over the past month, losing four games on the trot, adding to the two they lost in a row with him in the team, while they have struggled to generate anything in attack.

In their last four encounters the Kiwi side have averaged just 12.5 points scored per match and have scored more than two tries in a game only once.

Kearney has made immediate adjustments to his playmakers in an attempt to reverse their attacking woes this Friday against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, dropping Mason Lino from the 17 in favour of fellow youngster Ata Hingano.

Hingano impressed in last week's 36-16 loss to Canberra, running for 114 metres and breaking the line twice, and will partner Kieran Foran in the halves at ANZ Stadium.

"I thought both Ata and Mason played well the other night," Kearney said.

"I was pleased for Ata, he missed out when Mason got the jump on him a few weeks earlier and he has taken that in his stride and come back and put in a good performance.

"It's really important that he backs that up on Friday night.

"Ata worked pretty well with Shaun at the start of the season and I don't think it will be any different with Kieran.

"Last weekend we lacked a little bit of polish, we had a number of sets on their try-line and just couldn't quite nail opportunities that we had."


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