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Sharks halfback Shaun Johnson.

Sharks playmaker Shaun Johnson says Saturday's elimination final against Manly is exactly why he made the move from New Zealand – but stresses the job is nowhere near done.

Johnson's Warriors went out in the first week of the finals last year in what was his first playoff game since a remarkable run to the 2011 grand final in his rookie season.

Speaking in the lead-up to Cronulla's trip to supposed bogey ground Lottoland, Johnson said earning a finals berth in his first season at the new club had made all the sacrifices to get to this point worthwhile after so little success in the past seven years.

"You certainly view things a little differently to someone coming in in their first year," he said.

"I remember coming in in 2011 and thinking, how good is this? This is what footy is all about, playing in a grand final in my first year. Since then, you realise there is a bit more to it and it is a little tougher to do.

"Last year being with the Warriors back in that environment, it was an unreal feeling. Being able to back it up this year – on a personal note – you just don't want to get too far ahead of yourself.

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"Let the week unfold, enjoy the moment. But this is all irrelevant if we don't go out there and perform well this weekend. That's in the back of my mind.

"With all the media we're doing, with all the TV shoots we've done ... it's like, dude, what does this count for if we don't play well this week? That's what I'm really looking forward to."

Just making the finals is nowhere near enough for Johnson.

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"This really is the minimum of my expectations and where I expected us to be. Now we just have to try and push on as long as we can," he said.

Asked about the expectations on himself as a superstar joining a club that has had plenty of success in recent seasons, Johnson clearly gives the question plenty of thought before stressing that he'd rather be remembered as a half who can own big moments through intelligent plays than instinctive brilliance.

"With all my experiences and what I've been able to create through my career, moments like these (finals) are what people will remember me as," he said.

"And I'm not talking about a highlight play. I'm talking about the fight and the relentless pressure I can build and can put on a team. I'm well aware that these games probably have a little more on the line for someone like me and other senior players in our squad.

"Everyone has a job within a side and my role and my expectation, it's not to step five people and throw a long ball and set up glamorous tries. It's just executing my role. The role my teammates expect me to execute.

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"I get kids come up to me and say they love my step or someone comes up to me and says 'hey, are we going to see the big goosie (sidestep)?'

"Well no, you're probably not. Because that doesn't win you finals. Does Cooper Cronk do that? Did Thurston do that? You look at what has stood up in big moments. That stuff doesn't."

So Johnson won't be trying to beat Manly on his own, but he hopes by being an important part of a team that is used to winning big games, they will drive each other to success.

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"If I refer back to last year and all the stuff that happened and arriving at this club, that was a real attraction for me," he said.

"I looked at the Sharks and said 'these guys are tough'. They play in the big games. They seem to be there or thereabouts in every game they play. So now that we're here it's like 'okay, now you get to be a part of it'.

"You get to stamp your mark on why you came to this club. Show people what you have on the big stage … I get the chance to do that this weekend and I'm looking forward to it."

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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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