General Warriors young gun Shaun Johnson set for second-season sizzle

EnterFien_old

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Source: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...nd-season-sizzle/story-e6frexnr-1226273166464

THIS is how fast talent can get you to where you want to go in rugby league.

At the start of last season, Shaun Johnson was a YouTube sensation rated the best touch footy player in the world - today he rates as one of the most important players in the world's toughest competition.

Such was his astonishing impact in his rookie season that the supremely gifted 21-year-old is now regarded as a player who could well decide this year's title race. So how is he handling the expectation?

"A lot of people are talking to me about the second year and how it's a lot tougher but I'm pretty confident in my ability," he said this week. I back my ability.

It sounds easy, but repeating what they did last year is going to be no easy feat for the Warriors.

Although new coach Brian McClennan has a different take.

Instead of looking back, McClennan has declared the goal to go one better and win the big one in his first year in charge.

"Yeah, no pressure, exactly," Johnson laughed. "But we gained a lot of confidence from last year and we are excited about what this year can bring us."

Asked to explain the difference between the coaching styles of former boss Ivan Cleary and McClennan, Johnson offered: "They are two very different people. Brian is a lot more vocal and tries to really get the best out of each player, as opposed to Ivan who is more thorough with video and that sort of stuff from what I've seen so far.

"But look, Brian said from the outset that he just wanted to tweak a few areas, he doesn't want to make any drastic changes so everything is pretty similar."

Cleary earned enormous respect for the wonderful work he did building the Warriors into such a powerful club that made the grand final in all three grades last year - but McClennan comes to the job with his own reputation.

In 2005, he took the Kiwis to Tri-Nations glory at his first crack - then, at Leeds in 2008, he won the Super League crown in his first year. The Warriors have lost a few players for 2012 but maintain the majority of the squad that played in last year's decider, 15 of the 17 all up.

And the talent they have coming through is unmatched at any other club. Throw in some genuine superstars like Johnson, Kevin Locke, Manu Vatuvei, Feleti Mateo and James Maloney and you can't help but feel last year was just the beginning. Now for the encore.

"Looking back to where I was last year to where I am now ... this time last year I was hoping I'd get a run in first grade - now I'm the first-choice halfback. It's so unreal," he said.

"I know I will keep growing as a player as the year goes on and for many more years as well. I still have a lot to learn."
 

Fazz_old

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Actually at the start of last season he was a Toyota Cup sensation. The youtube thing would have been two years ago lol. Nice piece of fluff though! Hopefully he's able to keep riding the momentum.
 

facefacts_old

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I've said before and I'll say it again...if he has luck with injuries, he'll be the best we've ever seen.
 

NZR_old

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im sure they are just trying to build pressure around him with articles like these.. hes got a cool head i believe he wont be even care imo
 

Degenerate_old

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Awesome read. Will be interesting to see how much our play changes with the new chief at the helm.
 

Defence_old

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Can't see him struggling from second year year syndrome. That tends to hit the one trick ponnies harder- guys like tim smith who could only pass or kick and had no running game or Daniel Mortimer who is a great support player but doesn't have much else going for him. Shaun Johnson seems too well rounded for that. If other teams start marking up hard on him to shut down his running game that's just gonna open up space outside him and his got the vision and passing game to make them pay.
Now the rest of the boys have had an off season to get used to his style it should be onwards and upwards baring injury- touch wood
 

2big2strong_old

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Honestly, who was the last NRL halfback with playmaking skills AND a great running game?

I'm thinking Brandy Alexander circa 1991? There must of been someone since but I can't remember.
 

d13_old

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Sandows an opportunist,I only remember the run away against the roosters when he was waving around like a blowass that he is.. Shaun Johnson's long range stunners....Cowboys,Panthers,Broncs etc,brilliance
 

wallacenz_old

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looking forward to another awe inspiring highlights package from johnson at the end of this year.

side note: just saw Tuimivaves vital stats in the side bar, roughly 6foot2 and 87kg. hes a big guy, be great if he can step up for next year.
 

2big2strong_old

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I think he's heavier now? Saw Carlos' stats a couple weeks ago and I'm sure he's around 95kg. Possible future in the forwards?
 

wallacenz_old

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I think he's heavier now? Saw Carlos' stats a couple weeks ago and I'm sure he's around 95kg. Possible future in the forwards?
with his skillset from playing halves id like to see him in the centres, thats if he cant make it in the halves
 

sebastian_old

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Sandows an opportunist,I only remember the run away against the roosters when he was waving around like a blowass that he is.. Shaun Johnson's long range stunners....Cowboys,Panthers,Broncs etc,brilliance

See, Sandow, IMO, plays great when his teams on a roll. Looks like a world beater. But when his teams in a grind against quality opposistion, he crumbles, as does his defense. He hasn't made one single finals appearence so when i saw people rating him, even though they were Parra fans. I still couldn't believe how highly they were rating him. Compare to Johnson who plays at his best in a grind when the games on the line. The two try assists Johnson displayed in last years final series to win both the games. Is something Sandow hasn't even earned the chance to display.
 

d13_old

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See, Sandow, IMO, plays great when his teams on a roll. Looks like a world beater. But when his teams in a grind against quality opposistion, he crumbles, as does his defense. He hasn't made one single finals appearence so when i saw people rating him, even though they were Parra fans. I still couldn't believe how highly they were rating him. Compare to Johnson who plays at his best in a grind when the games on the line. The two try assists Johnson displayed in last years final series to win both the games. Is something Sandow hasn't even earned the chance to display.

Personally think Sandow gets way more press coverage then he deserves & alot of it has to do with those kamikaze shoulder charges (good for highlight packages) but doesn't make him a great half,still too many flaws in his game & as you mentioned,once put under serious pressure he crumbles
,as highly paid as he is,I'd never swap Johnson for Sandow,Johnson has way more pace & talent then Sandow IMO