Johnson pumped to be back for 150th game
He has been the face of the New Zealand Warriors since bursting onto the scene in 2011 and carrying his team to a grand final appearance as a fresh-faced rookie.
And while he still looks as young as he did seven years ago, Shaun Johnson will run out for his 150th NRL game on Saturday against Manly in Christchurch.
In a decorated career that includes Golden Boot honours in 2014 and breaking the great Stacey Jones' record as the club's all time leading point-scorer, it has taken Johnson "longer than expected" to join the 150-game club.
Several long-term injuries have delayed the milestone but the 27-year-old playmaker claimed he was now close to firing on all cylinders ahead of his side's clash with the Sea Eagles.
Johnson didn't want too much fuss made about his 150th but admitted it would be a proud moment given his struggles with injury. He will become the 12th Warrior to reach 150 first grade appearances.
"It's a cool milestone, something I haven't thought too much about to be honest, but I have some family coming down (to Christchurch) which will make it that much more special," Johnson said.
"I'm just pumped to back. The leg is good, I have got through enough sessions now to feel pretty confident I can take the field.
"No NRL player takes the field at 100 per cent but I'm good enough to play."
Added pressure will be on Johnson to carry his team's attack in the anticipated absence of captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who remained under a serious injury cloud, despite being named to start.
On Wednesday coach Stephen Kearney all but confirmed his captain would be out and that Peta Hiku would likely start at fullback with Gerard Beale coming into the centres.
Since winning five straight to start the season, the Warriors have not registered back-to-back wins since.
Johnson said the group had spent the bye week focusing on what areas they need to improve on to recapture some of that early season form.
The Warriors are fourth with an 8-4 record, while the inconsistent Sea Eagles have won just four of 13 games.