Shaun Johnson to miss 'at least four weeks' in brutal new NRL blow for 'appalling' Warriors

Things have gone from bad to worse for the New Zealand side.

The Warriors will be without Shaun Johnson for at least the next month after the veteran halfback suffered a recurrence of an Achilles injury last weekend. The 33-year-old made his NRL return against the Titans on Saturday after missing four weeks with a pectoral injury, but will now be sidelined for at least another month.

The Warriors revealed on Tuesday that Johnson suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the 66-6 loss - the club's biggest-ever defeat. The halfback has been battling the ailment all season and hasn't been able to train at times.

Shaun Johnson in action for the Warriors.
Shaun Johnson is out for at least another four weeks. Image: Getty

“He’s going to be out for at least four weeks," coach Andrew Webster said on Tuesday. "It’s all around the Achilles. He had ice on his hamstring, he had some hamstring tightness on the weekend but Shaun rehabbed it, it felt amazing and we took our time with him but he’s just not come back the way he wanted.”

It comes after league legend Laurie Daley singled out Addin Fonua-Blake after discussing the latest worrying fallout for the Warriors on Monday. The Warriors started the season poorly but looked like they'd turned a corner with recent wins over Penrith and the Dolphins, only to be destroyed by the Gold Coast on Saturday.

The 66-6 thrashing was the biggest win in Gold Coast's history and the display from the Warriors was described as “appalling” by veteran league reporter Phil Rothfield. Warriors coach Webster said much of the blame lay with his side's forwards, with Fonua-Blake having another underwhelming game as the New Zealanders were blown off the park.

Laurie Daley questioned whether the drama surrounding Addin Fonua-Blake has affected the Warriors' form in the NRL in 2024. Pic: Getty
Laurie Daley questioned whether the drama surrounding Addin Fonua-Blake has affected the Warriors' form in the NRL in 2024. Pic: Getty

"We got rolled completely down the field and every single player was accountable for that," Webster said after the game. "If we had heaps of ball and our go-forward and our defence was amazing I feel like we could start talking about halfbacks, fullbacks and hookers and how could you improve things and change things... We were not there physically, so to be talking about those things I think is the wrong day for it."

Webster was named Dally M Coach of the year last season after leading the Warriors to within one win of the NRL grand final, before they lost to premiers Penrith in the preliminary final. The return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and the signing of Kurt Capewell looked to have strengthened the Warriors for this season but they've failed to replicate the type of form that saw the 'Wahs' win over fans in 2023.

Daley suggested Fonua-Blake's decision to leave the club after this season and his axing for disciplinary reasons last month, may have played a part in the team's slide down the table this season. Fonua-Blake announced in December that he was joining the Sharks in 2025 and was dropped after his side’s superb win over the Panthers in Magic Round for leaving straight after the game and not joining his teammates in the dressing room afterwards.


Fonua-Blake's axing for their next game against the Dolphins coincided with the one of the Warriors' best wins of the season and it's something Daley thinks is a major concern for Webster's side. “They have gone backwards, they have dropped him, they’d have been disappointed he decided to leave,” Daley said on Sky's Big Sports Breakfast. “Then for disciplinary reasons they dropped him, and then the game they dropped him for it was arguably one of their best performances of the season.”

Seen here, Addin Fonua-Blake playing against the Titans in the NRL.
Addin Fonua-Blake is seen here playing against the Titans in the NRL. Pic: Getty

Rothfield said the Warriors looked "in all sorts" after their mauling by the Titans and all but wrote off their hopes of playing finals footy in 2024. The Warriors' huge loss left them reeling in 13th place when they really should be closer to the top eight. And Rothfield says the fact the Warriors were unaffected by players being out for State of Origin Game 1, when they now have two players in Maroons forward Capewell and Blues 18th man Mitch Barnett involved in Game 2, only makes it harder.

“My goodness, where do you start. I look at Shaun Johnson’s stats, he had one run for two metres. They missed 51 tackles," Rothfield said about the trouncing by the Titans. “On paper they’ve got pretty much the same side that was an excitement machine this same time last season. This is the first time they’ve faced real negative publicity since Covid.

“They are in all sorts, I can’t see them coming back. The things is this is a period of the year... the good sides are really badly weakened this time of year. But there’s no excuses for the Warriors. That was an appalling, abysmal performance on Saturday, but the Titans were great."