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Johnson back for Warriors-Storm clash

Shaun Johnson is returning to the starting lineup for the Warriors to take on the Storm
Shaun Johnson is back for the NZ Warriors as they take on the Storm in Auckland. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Veteran halfback Shaun Johnson is back for the NZ Warriors’ much-anticipated Round 15 NRL encounter with competition leader Melbourne at a sold-out Mt Smart on Saturday.


After missing the club’s last three matches with a pectoral injury, the 33-year-old is set

for his 263rd career appearance while vastly experienced centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is

close to returning from his hamstring injury.


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Tuivasa-Sheck (31) has been named on the extended bench in jersey No 20 but Warriors head coach Andrew Webster said he was being targeted for

his comeback in the Round 16 clash against the Gold Coast Titans in June 22.


Johnson’s inclusion for his 11th appearance in his 14th NRL season sees Te Maire Martin, who has been impressive at halfback in the last three games, reverting to standoff.


Utility Chanel Harris-Tavita, the starting No 6 against the Dolphins and North Queensland, has been named on the interchange to provide cover for a number of positions.


The rest of the backline remains unchanged while the starting forward pack is the same as the one originally named last week although captain Tohu Harris was later shifted to the bench with Dylan Walker starting.


The Warriors are coming off a run of three consecutive wins, over three-times premier Penrith

(22-20), the fourth-placed Dolphins (24-20) and North Queensland (42-12), their most complete performance of the season against.


Along with two points from their 13th-round bye, the Warriors now have 15 points and have climbed to 10th, within one point of the top-eight.


Last week the side was bolstered by the return of key players Charnze-Nicoll Klokstad, Rocco Berry, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Tohu Harris and Kurt Capewell and now Johnson comes back to further strengthen the lineup.


Last Saturday night the Warriors completely dominated the Cowboys in their second straight win in Townsville.


This week they face their toughest opponent of the past 10 years having lost 15 times of end to the Storm stretching back to their last win at Go Media Stadium in 2015.


NZ WARRIORS: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Rocco Berry, Adam Pompey, Marcelo Montoya, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Jackson Ford, Marata Niukore, Mitchell Barnett, Tohu Harris. Interchange: Chanel Harris-Tavita, Dylan Walker, Jazz Tevaga, Kurt Capewell, Tom Ale, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Taine Tuapiki, Freddy Lussick, Jacob Laban



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