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Warriors Orange Peeler
Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson ready to silence critics
Date March 13, 2015 - 3:13PM


Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson says it has come as no surprise that people have turned on him after a poor performance against the Newcastle Knights last weekend.

The current holder of the Golden Boot, as the best player in the world, had a below-par outing in Newcastle last Saturday and his coach Andrew McFadden was the first to get the ball rolling, labelling him "disappointing".

Johnson has also been under fire in the media for his performance and that of the Warriors' in general after the 24-14 loss.

Johnson and the club have the chance for redemption on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Canberra and for the halfback it's an opportunity to silence the critics that have suddenly appeared.

"People labelling us the same old Warriors is just talk," Johnson said.

"I know that with the group we've got here we've come a long way."

One of the criticisms of Johnson and his halves partner, Chad Townsend. is that they're too inexperienced to control a team and again Johnson believes it's a knee-jerk reaction.

"It's people changing their minds," he said.

"I didn't hear any of that when I played in the grand final in 2011 after 16 games, it's all talk and it fluctuates, it goes up and down. People are quick to pump you up and they're also quick to cut you down.

"Me and Chad believe we can do it and it's funny, it's not just us that are doing it. It's never just the halves in any team, we've got Thomas Leuluai, Simon Mannering and other boys with lots of experience."

Johnson grabs so much attention not just because of the position he plays, but also because of his personality. A few weeks ago he had the Sydney Morning Herald's top league reporter flying to Auckland to do a glowing feature on him and in the past few days he's been hammered by the likes of Matt Johns, who called him the most disappointing player in the entire NRL in round one.

"I handle it fine, I see it, I read it, I get tweeted it," he said.

"I'm well aware of it and I was well aware of it when they were saying good things about me. I don't let it get to me.

"With the Golden Boot, I spoke about it but knew it had no impact on what I was going to do this year.

"I didn't think I was the world's best player at the end of last year and I don't think I am now. But do I think I'm way off where I was last year? No, not at all.

"There were areas of my game last weekend that were a lot better than last year."

Despite the loss, there's no sense of panic around the Warriors, if they play like they did against the Raiders in the first half again this weekend they've got it in them to win in Canberra.

But it'll mean they'll have to go 80 minutes without throwing poor passes, dropping the balls and missing tackles. Also - and there's no getting away from this - they need Johnson to play better.

"There were a lot of good things we did in the first half with the way we withstood the pressure we were under," Johnson said.

"We came home strong in the back end of that half and scored two tries and putting ourselves into a position to win the game was very pleasing.

"But on the flipside, in the second half we were pretty poor and were making basic errors, that was pretty frustrating and we lost our way.

"As the playmaker, I lost my composure, I lost control of the game and that's disappointing."
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NRL 2015 - Rnd 2 - Raiders vs Warriors, GIO Stadium, Canberra.

Game day. Put on your jersey and get the beers in or if youre in town than get to the game.

Heres hoping we can continue our winning streak at GIO Stadium. A streak which is only one game long after breaking our Canberra hoodoo in spectacular fashion by thrashing the hapless Hulks 54-18 last year in Round 21

Good luck team...


1. Jack Wighton
2. Sisa Waqa
3. Jarrod Croker
4. Edrick Lee
18. Jeremy Hawkins
6. Blake Austin
7. Mitch Cornish
8. Josh Papalii
9. Josh Hodgson
19. Shannon Boyd
11. Jarrad Kennedy
12. Iosia Soliola
13. Shaun Fensom

14. Josh McCrone
15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala
16. Paul Vaughan
17. Luke Bateman

Coach: Ricky Stuart

Late changes for Canberra. Jeremy Hawkins comes onto the right win in place of Jordan Rapana who was forced to withdraw because of hamstring complaint, whilst Shannon Boyd comes into the front-row in place of Dane Tilse.

1 Sam Tomkins
2 Jonathan Wright
3 Tuimoala Lolohea
4 Solomone Kata
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Chad Townsend
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Thomas Leuluai
10 Ben Matulino
11 Bodene Thompson
12 Ryan Hoffman
13 Simon Mannering (c)

14 Nathan Friend
15 Ben Henry
16 Sam Lisone
17 Albert Vete
18 Matthew Allwood

Coach: Andrew McFadden

Plenty of positional movement at the Warriors. Sam Tomkins returns to fullback, pushing the impressive Tuimoala Lolohea to the wing. Solomone Kata moves to the centres and Ben Henry to the bench.
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Not only Shaun Johnson, but as playmaker it especially applies. I want them to play smarter. The best teams in any sport keep their composure under applied pressure doing the basics right. Executing and eliminating mistakes. Players who are accommodated within a team taking into account strengths and weaknesses. Or recruited to fit that system.

That is why people like Lowrie, Neilson and for a long time Blair didn't flourish after leaving the Storm. Despite promising first signs Hoffman will not change the Warriors unless the Warriors change themselves and achieve that composure/mindset/discipline.

I do think they are on the right track, but are taking too long to get there. That is why the Warriors always seem to be 'developing'.
Please take this out by 6 guys My tips are all shit this week again It's just the same old same old re tipping so far


Just had a dream.

Tomkins carves up and we put on 40pts


We did lose a backrower for the season.

That is all.

Time to put on the brand new U20s jersey, and retire the Wellington jersey to the wall. I'm feeling lucky now I have a current jersey.
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I'm really looking forward to tonight's game. I felt that last weeks loss was blown out of proportion - the typical Warriors stereotypes setting in, plus Shaun Johnson copping harsh criticism because Aussie journo's are salty he won golden boot, all overshadowed what I thought was a valiant effort despite injury setbacks and a lot of impromptu shuffling. Our young guns stood tall given their heightened responsibilities on game day, and have earned an extended chance to impress tonight.

Raiders won against an ordinary Sharks outfit last week, but will still be dangerous. We should get the W, but as we all know nothing is a given in modern day NRL. Tomkins being back will settle our attack, but the game will be won with stiff defense and a 80 min effort from our boys. What I think was lost from last weeks performance was the fact that our effort didn't dwindle, even if our energy levels did.

I'm glad Jono Wright has been brought in. Brings some experience and composure to a back-line boasting two young centers. I'm looking for Lolo to impress and Kata to cement his spot. Shaun Johnson will have a blinder and Chad will live to see another week in the #6 jersey. Tomkins will lead our attack to the promised land and be solid at the back. Our forwards will steamroll and Lisone and Vete will continue to impress (well, heres hoping anyway).
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Will be a test to see if we still carry the mental baggage from the early season trips to Canberra where the fans all pick 13+ wins only to see them put in pathetic performance...some of which are then followed by players venting at fans on social at me!
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The forecast for kick off is 16c - our players haven't trained in that sort of cold, they won't be able to adjust, game over - Raiders win.

The game will be played on Sunday 15 March 2015. The players have never played a game on Sunday 15 March 2015 before. OMFG this could be messy! Goddamn NRL, asking the Warriors to do something they've never done before!

Ryno, Lord Gnome and I have nailed it for you folks. May as well start the post-game thread now.

Warriors 13+. Lolohea try.

"Huge Warriors Pack" to make an early impact - several 2 second bursts - in first 20 minutes of game. "Warriors Are Getting Tired" to come off the interchange bench for several 2 second bursts in the last quarter of the match.

Commentators to come down with SorryForWarriorsOppositionitis over the Raiders if it looks certain - when, sorry, when!! - they're going to lose.
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