Shaun Johnson is seemingly ready to wear the No.7 jersey this weekend for the Warriors in their must-win NRL finals clash against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday, but the halfback won't be at full fitness after more images emerged from training. Johnson was ruled out of the NRL finals clash against Penrith last weekend having sustained a calf injury during training.
The loss of their commander was a huge blow for the Warriors as they were dismantled 32-6 in Penrith and now host the Knights at Mount Smart stadium. Johnson was named in the starting line-up, but still remains a doubt heading into the clash.
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And a photo from Warriors training shows Johnson's calf still heavily strapped as he goes through the training to determine if he will be fit for the weekend's clash. NRL Physio Brien Seeney has pointed out that even if Johnson runs out in front of the home crowd, he will still be carrying the frustrating injury.
"Shaun Johnson has progressed well this week as he looks to overcome a calf injury, Still on a modified training program but Warriors are hopeful he will be available on Saturday," he wrote. "Even if he plays considering his prep and lingering nature of calf strains, will be tough to be at 100 per cent."
However, if there is even a chance he can play, fans have questioned it could be the worth pushing it and seeing how he pulls up for a potential showdown with the Broncos.
NewsHub New Zealand reporter Alex Chapman said Thursday would be a defining day on whether Johnson plays on the weekend as he goes through his training away from the rest of the squad. He also admitted he wasn't sure if the Warriors were playing 'mind games' with Johnson passing the ball around with his teammates.
Coach Andrew Webster would be desperate for the halfback to play with the 33-year-old instrumental on turning the Warriors' form around in 2023. Webster confirmed Johnson had 'torn' his calf, according to Chapman, but was also confident he would line-up for the Warriors.
Shaun Johnson has progressed well this week as he looks to overcome a calf injury. Still on a modified training program but Warriors are hopeful he will be available on Saturday. Even if he plays considering his prep & lingering nature of calf strains will be tough to be at 100%
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) September 13, 2023
— Alex Chapman (@AlexChapmanNZ) September 14, 2023
Wouldn’t be surprised if this is just mind games either though. Johnson ended up doing some passing with a few players before media were asked to leave training. @NewshubSport @NewshubNZ https://t.co/TVibjMw3Lf
— Alex Chapman (@AlexChapmanNZ) September 13, 2023
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The clash on Saturday marks the first finals home game for the Warriors since 2008. The favourite for this year's Dally M Medal, was announced opposite Te Maire Martin in the halves.
Webster had previously backed Martin and Dylan Walker to reprise their combination from the Panthers game if Johnson failed to recover. "Knowing Shaun, he'll be doing everything he can to get on the field," Warriors legend and former teammate Simon Mannering told AAP.
"The way he's been playing, it will be a massive boost for the side if he's there." It comes as the Knights joust to seal a preliminary-final berth without their own halfback Jackson Hastings, who has been ruled out with an ankle injury.
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