Warriors fizzing after week off: Johnson

Daniel Gilhooly
Shaun Johnson says his Warriors side are revitalised heading into the NRL clash with Cronulla

Shaun Johnson says the value of him missing the Denver Test will be borne out in the NRL when the Warriors host Cronulla.

The key playmaker has confirmed Warriors management requested he be unavailable for the controversial mid-season clash with England to help shake off some persistent niggles.

Having played the two previous rounds, Johnson admits he was disappointed to miss out on the historic Test, particularly after watching the Kiwis go down.

However, he could understand his club's stance, reinforced when their three New Zealand representatives - Issac Luke, Peta Hiku and Ken Maumalo - didn't return until early Wednesday morning because of flight complications.

By the time the Test kicked off, Johnson had come to terms with his absence.

"It was all right. I was pretty comfy on the couch," he said.

"Any chance you get to represent your country, you want to take that. This time I wasn't able to ... and when you get a little break at this time of the year, you're going to make the most of it.

"The boys who did get the weekend off are coming back feeling good."

Two of the Kiwis trio remain in contention to face the Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday.

Winger Maumalo dropped out when an extended 10-man bench was reduced to seven late on Thursday.

Luke and Hiku remain on the bench after proving their readiness at Thursday's final training session - the only one available to them this week.

Coach Stephen Kearney will be reluctant to omit veteran hooker Luke, who has been influential all season.

Hiku may get a promotion, with starting centre Solomone Kata in doubt after injuring his hamstring during the 23-16 win over North Queensland two weeks ago.

That victory in Townsville, the 10th for the fourth-placed Warriors, was highlighted by captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's brilliant solo try.

A tongue-in-cheek Johnson said fullback Tuivasa-Sheck had seemingly become energised since the arrival of his first child this month.

"Roger seems to be coming to training really excited, like he wants to get out of the house maybe - like it's a bit crazy there," Johnson said.

"We're like his outlet."

Johnson described the seventh-placed Sharks as a team who are prepared to do the "dirty work" more than most.

Their forward power will be bolstered by the midweek signing of former Canterbury and Kangaroos prop Aaron Woods, improving Cronulla's chance of building on an excellent recent record in Auckland.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Sharks have won four of their past five matches at Mt Smart Stadium.

* The Warriors have failed to pass 20 points in their past 10 clashes with the Sharks.

* It's the battle of the right edges. The Warriors have created the most tries down that flank of any club (25). Cronulla are second (21).

Source: Fox Sports Stats