Sharks' Johnson gears up for fatherhood

Matt Encarnacion
Cronulla half Shaun Johnson has had more than rugby league on his mid during the NRL shutdown

A mentally refreshed Shaun Johnson has used the coronavirus lockdown to prepare for fatherhood and to help his pregnant wife Kayla continue her netball career.

Just before the NRL season was suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sporting couple revealed they were expecting their first child later this year.

And while restrictions forced Johnson to isolate from his Cronulla teammates, the New Zealand international made the most of some extended home time.

"I'm fizzing. I can't wait. I love being around kids," Johnson said on Wednesday.

"I've got a few nieces, so this is the most exciting period of my life.

"Being home and being able to share that time with Kayla, seeing her body adapt and change over the last few weeks has been pretty amazing to watch."

Johnson was initially concerned about the baby's arrival clashing with a possible finals campaign, which traditionally begins in September.

But the season's suspension means any finals action will be in October.

"Everything happens for a reason and this has allowed us to relax a little bit more around that period," Johnson said.

"And yeah, I can't wait to be a dad.

"I'm really excited by it, and I know Kayla's excited just as much as I am."

Much of the pair's downtime has been spent creating video blogs involving Kayla, a veteran Silver Fern who signed with the Sydney Swifts last year.

Johnson said his wife is determined to play in the 2021 Super Netball campaign.

"She's not putting any pressures on herself but she just said, 'Once it's done, I'm getting myself back and I want to try play again'," he said.

"I'll be doing everything I can to support her and try and get her back to that stage.

"Time will tell, we have to see how it all unfolds.

"But certainly over that first year of baby being here with us, she'll be slowly trying to get her body back in shape for possibly next season."