Cronulla playmaker Shaun Johnson has offered his support to under-fire Broncos halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima ahead of Saturday night's clash but won't complain if the pair's mixed fortunes continue into a seventh week.
Johnson has had his fair share of scrutiny during an eight-year career at the Warriors as a marquee halfback and one of the biggest names in New Zealand.
The criticism of Milford's game in particular has lingered over the past 18 months after the Broncos five-eighth re-signed on a lucrative deal in 2017.
"I've felt a little bit of that over my career so I can relate to that and what he's going through," Johnson said on Wednesday.
"I'm sure he'll get through it, he's been in the game long enough to understand what he's got to do. We're playing him this week so I hope he doesn't turn one on against us this weekend."
Many have suggested both Broncos playmakers should be playing in other positions with Milford identified as a possible fullback option and Nikorima touted as a bench utility or hooker.
But Johnson, who toured with Nikorima for the Kiwis in October and November last season and teamed up with his Kiwis teammate in the halves, believes it's the No.7 jersey or nothing for the crafty playmaker.
"He's a halfback, I spent six weeks sleeping in the bed next to him," Johnson said.
"I know him pretty well and working with him every day, he's a halfback and the people who know him know who he is.
"It's up to him to shut out that external noise that doesn't mean anything and he'll continue with in that role."
The Sharks have lost in-form rookie Briton Nikora for a week through suspension, while the Broncos could receive a double boost with Tevita Pangai jnr and Matt Lodge returning.
Pangai looms as the Broncos' key for the Sharks to contain.
"You'd expect he'll come out with a bit of a hiss and a roar so we've got to attack that as well," Johnson said.
"There's no point trying to absorb it, we should go head to head with it and enjoy that contest. We've got our work cut out, they've got some dangerous ball runners that are going to bring a lot of energy."
Meanwhile, a perplexed Johnson wasn't buying into talk former Panthers general manager Phil Gould was about to make his mark at the Sharks.
Gould resides in the Sutherland Shire but Johnson preferred to stay clear of any speculation linking him to the club.
"To be fair I haven't been around this organisation long enough to warrant a comment," he said.
"I trust the people above me to make all the right decisions. As a playing group and me in particular we'll back that."