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Shaun Johnson is set to finish his career with the club he never wanted to leave after taking just 24 hours to accept a sudden offer to return to the Warriors.

Johnson, who remains a favourite among Warriors fans, received an offer of a two-year contract on Thursday and the deal was finalised so quickly that the club announced his homecoming on Friday.  

He was quick to post on social media after the announcement was made, writing on Twitter: "I’m coming home dream come true. See you next year Warrior Nation."

Johnson added on Instagram: "I’m not crying you are."

Former teammate Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who is trying his hand at rugby union next year, responded to him with "Now you wanna come back".

When reports emerged last week that Johnson would be signing with the Bulldogs, he also used social media to urge fans not to believe the speculation.

The move stunned rival teams and supporters after Johnson departed the Warriors with a year remaining on his contract at the end of the 2018 season after the club publicly stated they would not be rushing to re-sign him.

The Warriors wanted to seen more consistency and leadership from the star playmaker and believe he has demonstrated that during his three seasons with Cronulla.

Johnson led the NRL for try assists before rupturing his Achilles late last season and has regained form in his six matches since returning, kicking a 35-metre match-winning field goal recently against Penrith.

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The Warriors had been in the market for an experienced playmaker and approached Melbourne's Jahrome Hughes and had expressed interest in Gareth Widdop before turning their attention to Johnson.

Canterbury had expressed their interest in Johnson's services for 2022 as well.

The 30-year-old New Zealand international was told by the Sharks that he wouldn’t be retained beyond this season and had recently reached out to the Warriors about a possible return home with wife Kaylah and daughter Millah.

The Warriors decided this week that Johnson was the best available playmaking option and the deal was finalised within 24 hours.

He will return to the Warriors next season in place of Cronulla teammate Chad Townsend, who is joining the club for the remainder of the season before moving to the Cowboys in 2022.

It is understood the signing of Johnson is not related to reports suggesting five-eighth Kodi Nikorima wanted to remain in Australia and the Warriors expect the pair will vie for spots in the halves along with injured young playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita. 

Johnson made 162 appearances for the Warriors from 2011 to 2018, including the grand final in his rookie season.

"While he left to join the Sharks, Shaun’s heart has always been with the Vodafone Warriors after starting his career here," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

"We’re thrilled we’re able to bring him home to again play in the Vodafone Warriors jersey in front of our members and fans at Mount Smart.

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"Shaun stands among the top playmakers in the competition and he’ll give us a significant boost from next season."

Johnson owns the Warriors’ all-time record for most points (917) and also ranks among the club’s leading try scorers with 63.

"Shaun’s homecoming is hugely exciting for both the team and the club as a whole," said coach Nathan Brown.

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"I know how much our club means to him and we also know how much he will bring to the side with not just his proven ability but also with his experience, leadership and the value he’ll provide as a mentor for our halves."

Johnson’s signing follows the acquisition of his New Zealand teammate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak this week along with recent contract extensions for Josh Curran, Bunty Afoa, Jazz Tevaga, Adam Pompey and Rocco Berry along with the long-term signing of Queensland State of Origin rookie Reece Walsh plus Melbourne prop Aaron Pene.

"It’s terrific for us as a club knowing Shaun is coming home," said Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.

He’ll give us a significant boost.

Cameron George

"He has big moments in his game but it’s his consistency which has really improved and we believe he can help our young players take their games to another level.

"When we met you could see the passion in his eyes and hear in his voice what returning home means to him."

Since leaving the Warriors, Johnson has made 40 appearances for the Sharks to lift his career tally to 202 games while he has now scored almost 1200 points in total.

After a delayed comeback this season, his return has coincided with a form revival for the Sharks who have climbed to eighth on the ladder with four straight wins. 

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