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Kiwis World Cup lure driving Johnson's comeback

The lure of playing for New Zealand at the end of season World Cup in England is driving Sharks superstar Shaun Johnson to ensure he is in top shape and form when he returns from an Achilles injury.

Johnson is off contract this season and Cronulla have indicated that they want to wait until he resumes playing before discussing a new deal but he is determined not to rush his comeback.

"There are just other things that are priority right now," Johnson said. "I get and I understand there might be a bit of hesitancy to start negotiations while they haven't seen me.

"All I can do is come back and show them what I have got and see what happens."

Johnson isn't due back before round 8 but he hopes to have a long season ahead by helping the Sharks to a third consecutive finals appearance under John Morris and playing at the World Cup.

The 30-year-old has fond memories of playing in England after scoring a brilliant individual try in the 80th minute to snatch a 20-18 semi-final victory over the host nation at the 2013 World Cup. He has played 32 Tests for New Zealand and is the Kiwis' highest points scorer (223 points).

Johnson magic sends Kiwis to World Cup final

"The World Cup is a big goal for me," Johnson said. "Any time I get to be part of the Kiwi environment it is truly something special.

"That is certainly a driving factor in me wanting to come back and obviously ply my trade here and play some really good footy for the Sharks, but the big end goal is making that Kiwi squad for the World Cup."

In the meantime, Johnson has taken the opportunity to mentor some of Cronulla's young playmakers, like Braydon Trindall, Luke Metcalfe and Connor Tracey.

"It is something he has enjoyed but the 2014 Golden Boot winner isn't sure he wants to get into coaching after his playing career is finished.

"I just put my input in where I think it is needed or I think they might benefit. I don't tell them how to do things," he said.

"Each of them has got their own style and that is why they got signed here. They bring their own version of how they attack the game so you are not going to take that away from them.

"Certainly, there are some real fundamental lessons I will try to pass on but I wouldn't call it coaching. It is more being around and if they need something then I am there for them.

"I love it, it is really cool and I don't know a lot about the kids so to see then go to work and see what they can do out there is really nice." 

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