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There was a little extra bite behind Shaun Johnson engineering a heavy 46-10 win over his former club at Gosford on Sunday.

"You play against a club that necessarily didn't want you there and there is a bit more incentive … you want to play well every week but yeah, it was certainly an important game not just for me but for our club," Johnson said after his commanding performance against the Warriors.

He kicked seven goals, he had a hand in half of Cronulla's eight tries and then he ended up scoring one himself.

Johnson has surged into Dally M Medal contention in recent weeks to cement a spot in the top five on the leaderboard after former Australian halfback Cooper Cronk questioned his efforts early last month, saying he'd been "firing blanks" since arriving at Cronulla from the Warriors last year.

"We slipped up last week but it was important we bounced back and we did."

Johnson said the team had full confidence "we've got the roster to do something special" but it was a case of keeping bodies on the field so cohesion could be established.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Sharks

The 36-point win was without two key players in Andrew Fifita and Matt Moylan, both of whom coach John Morris says he hopes to have back for round 13 against the Eels on August 9.

"At the moment we've got a good roster on paper but we've got to get it out on the park," Johnson said.

"Not one week, two weeks, we've got to get it out there to build together on how we want to play."

Morris likes what he's seeing from Johnson.

Johnson orchestrates length of the field try for Katoa

"He's been really good for us all year Shaun. There's still parts of his game and some errors he'd like to be better at, but he's been much more consistent in managing our team defensively and then influencing some nice tries today."

That makes four wins from the past five matches for the Sharks to draw them level with three other teams with a 5-5 record but they are ninth, marginally behind the Rabbitohs on percentages.

"I’m not entirely happy because we're nowhere near our best. We've also not got our best team on the park," Morris said.

"I just want to get that consistency in our game. To drop that game last week shows us there are still parts we need to be better at.

"I have huge respect for the Warriors but they made as many errors as we did. Last week when we made errors Penrith absolutely went to town on us.

"We've just got to be careful and tighten up parts of our game if we want to be a top-four team as everyone wants to be.

"If we can continue to build and get that consistency in our game then we're heading in the right direction towards the back end of the year."

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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