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A "vocal" Shaun Johnson took charge at Cronulla's video session this week in readiness for his second match against the Warriors.

As if keeping the eighth-placed Sharks' season alive isn't enough motivation, the mercurial playmaker has the added incentive of beating his old club for the first time at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday.

Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend noted it's a special occasion for Johnson - who played 162 matches for the Warriors - with the Sharks out to avenge a heartbreaking 19-18 loss to the New Zealand side five weeks ago.

"He was pretty vocal this morning [Wednesday] in video in how he wants us to play and how we prepare this week. I know it's a big game for him," Townsend said.

"He's got a lot of friends there and spent a lot of time at the Warriors. I'd love to get the win this weekend not only for our team but for him. I know how much it means to him."

Shaun Johnson and his fiancee Kayla Cullen.
Shaun Johnson and his fiancee Kayla Cullen. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Townsend insisted the five-eighth's passion during the week was not forged from bitterness towards the Warriors. Nine months ago he left the only NRL club he'd known after a sudden split.

"The way he voiced his thoughts and opinions in video was to ensure the boys get the message about how we need to play this week - it had nothing to do with the way the relationship there ended," Townsend said.

"Shaun's well and truly moved on from that. He's come in and embraced the culture here at the Sharks and Australia."

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Townsend spent two seasons with the Warriors (2014-15) but said facing his former team doesn't carry any more weight than usual.

"Not too much now. Probably maybe the first year or two after I left the Warriors it was a big game for me. I wanted to play well, I had a lot of friends who played at the Warriors," he said.

"But now they have a pretty different team, there's probably only one or two guys there that I played with. I still enjoy playing the Warriors, don't get me wrong. They play a different style of football to most teams.

"I think it's more of a big game for someone like Shaun rather than myself."

Johnson spent time working on his goal-kicking on Wednesday, while after training Townsend fine-tuned his positioning for a field goal from a play-the-ball to his right - the uncomfortable side for a right-footed kicker. 

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The No.7 said those skills are of amplified significance with the finals looming.

"It's more about putting yourself in a situation that's not normal or natural and seeing how you go," Townsend said.

"I've been practising field goals all year but now as things are getting tight and coming towards the back-end of the year, that stuff's more important than ever.

"That's why I think it's so important to go over that stuff - field goals, talking about how you set up, who's doing do what, what are each other's roles - so you can nail it come the weekend.

"I think [Johnson] has been hitting [conversions] really well lately, so hopefully we can continue that."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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