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Experienced Sharks key difference for Johnson thriving after Warriors exit

Shaun Johnson was often portrayed as the leading man in each Warriors game he played but the Kiwi Test halfback doesn't believe he's changed too much after three games in new surroundings.

Johnson produced his most polished performance of the season against North Queensland last Saturday after linking with Cronulla over the off season.

To many, this was the Johnson of old who made a name for himself as a Warrior, but for the star playmaker, he thinks the only difference at each club is big-game experience.

"I wouldn't say I ever felt like I was [the main player at the Warriors], that's maybe what it was perceived like," Johnson said.

"I didn't feel like I wasn't getting help from anyone. Everyone contributed there as well. I think it just comes with player experience. We have one of the most experienced sides with games played across the competition and that helps, we help each other with that.

"This group of boys makes my role pretty easy. You've got so many guys in this team who have that experience in the big games, you're just a piece of the puzzle.

Creating decision fatigue in attack

"Coming in it's just finding where I can inject myself."

A more controlling role from halves partner Chad Townsend has also eased pressure on Johnson's arrival with their time together in 2014 and 2015 at the Warriors working in their advantage early despite a jaded start in round one against Newcastle.

"I'm finding my role with Chad, I've been able to take a step back and let him do most of the controlling and finding where I can slot in," Johnson said.

"There's still a bit of work to do, in patches I feel good but still get a little lost at certain times.

"It's a work in progress and I've said it time and time again I'm not going to rush it, it's one of those things you get with time – every session I have on the field and every game played. It's just about adding to that. Definitely heading into the right direction though."

Cronulla have lost fullback Matt Moylan for an extended period due to a torn hamstring with Johnson looking to build a combination with former international Josh Dugan around the ruck.

They'll face an improved Eels side on Saturday night before clashes against the Roosters, Panthers, Broncos and Storm over the next month.

"What you've seen in the competition it's close," Johnson said.

How to get through the halves crisis

"The Eels have started well with a couple of wins early on and fell short last week. We've played well in patches, those patches we played well in and put on some points.

"We can't look too far ahead but starting this week it is a pretty tough period of football.

"It's something you don't want to shy away from. You get excited by those challenges."

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