We could dissect whether the Warriors or Shaun Johnson were at fault for his shock exit; whether it was a good thing for the Warriors or not; where he will go next and how that team will fare with him in the line-up; who will replace Johnson at the Warriors in 2019 and beyond.
But This Warriors Life has instead opted to celebrate the contribution of a player that in eight seasons has produced a highlights reel no player in rugby league’s televised era can match.
Thanks for the memories, SJ – here’s 100 of our favourites.
100. Just tackle him! (2013)
The Broncos hung off SJ and paid the price as the Warriors dodged Russell Packer’s urine puddle and stormed to a 56-18 victory.
99. Pinpoint (2018)
We’ve picked this bomb for ‘Air Fus’ to represent every time SJ launched it into the sky and put it on a dime for a four-pointer.
98. Staying in the chase (2014)
Johnson finished off the craziest post-halftime-siren try of all time at the Cake Tin.
97. Slippery Shaun (2017)
Johnson defied the wet to dot down against Melbourne in this early-2017 clash.
96. Ice cool (2017)
A reliable 75 percent kicker over the past six seasons, Johnson’s last-minute penalty to sink the Roosters was his only genuine match-winner off the tee.
95. Sam slammed (2013)
Dropping the shoulder into Sam Burgess.
94. Stayin’ alive (2018)
The Warriors suffered their first loss of the season but Johnson kept it interesting in the latter stages.
93. Leaving it late (2017)
Johnson serves it up for Hoffman to score the match-winner with two minutes left against the Titans.
92. No-look, no worries (2012)
Actually seeing where you’re passing the ball is a luxury SJ had no problems going without.
91. I’ll take that (2012)
Johnson quickly became the game’s new intercept king – this was his first at NRL level, completing a maiden first-grade double against the Titans in the process.
90. Intercept time…again (2012)
Here’s another thief-in-the-night effort from Johnson’s career-high 12-try haul in 2012.
89. Like shelling peas (2018)
This was the best of four crucial Johnson touches that led to tries in an agonising one-point loss to the Bulldogs.
88. Hand of God (2013)
Following the letter of the law, this shouldn’t have been awarded – but Johnson’s deliberate tip-on got the green light in this 2013 win over the Titans.
87. Dressed to the Nines (2015)
Not as dominant as in the first edition, but the Nines’ biggest name still produced a few flashes of brilliance in the 2015 pre-season.
86. Taking on the line (2016)
Loved seeing Johnson back himself close to the opposition try-line.
85. Knighty night (2012)
The break, the step, the burst of speed – sophomore Johnson bags one of his 12 tries in 2012.
84. One-point wonder (2014)
One of the NRL’s best field goal exponents, Johnson’s longest one-pointer gave the Warriors a seven-point halftime lead against the Broncos in 2014 on the way to a 19-10 win.
83. Freak flick (2017)
A brilliant offload to bamboozle the Knights in 2017.
82. Quick hands (2018)
Exquisite cut-out ball for Fusitu’a.
80-81. Manic Easter Monday (2013)
Johnson served it up for Elijah Taylor just before halftime then did it all himself after the break, leading the Warriors to a 20-18 upset of the Cowboys on Easter Monday.
78-79. Two-minute double (2016)
Roger won it in golden point, but back-to-back tries from SJ in the first half kept the Warriors in this Gosford thriller against the Roosters.
77. Rainbow Warrior (2012)
Manu profited from many an SJ long ball at club and Test level – here’s a beauty against the Storm in 2012.
76. Rainbow Warrior II (2012)
This was only eight weeks later.
74-75. The try, then the assist (2016)
SJ dummies his way through then has it on a string to set up Bodene Thompson in a home win over the Broncos.
73. Mowing down Tupou (2014)
Not as special as reeling in another Roosters flyer in Jennings a year earlier as it came in a heavy defeat, but impressive nonetheless.
72. Highs and lows (2017)
The night ended with a knee injury but SJ started on fire with a second-minute assist for Mannering.
71. No.7 with a bullet (2013)
A breath-taking ball to send Bill Tupou in on Anzac Day.
70. Deft AF (2013)
Sleight of hand to send the skipper over in Perth.
69. Running rings in Round 1 (2016)
Johnson’s individual try was a silver lining in a dismal season-opening loss to the Tigers.
67-68. Flying start (2017)
Two try-assists in the first seven minutes against Manly.
66. Blink and you’ll miss him (2015)
Too fast, too steppy for the Raiders in a 30-8 victory.
65. Flicking the switch (2017)
The Warriors were dismal in Dunedin, but Johnson’s flick pass and support run was a rare highlight.
64. Last hurrah (2018)
It was finals heartbreak in Johnson’s last game for the Warriors, but he produced one last piece of magic for a Fusitu’a try that had us dreaming of week two.
63. First NRL try (2011)
The wunderkind bagged his NRL four-pointer in just his second game, scorching 50 metres in a 26-22 loss to the Tigers.
62. Show and go (2012)
Laying it on for Krisnan Inu to ice a 44-22 rout of the Rabbitohs.
61. Coasting (2018)
A second-half capitulation ruined it, but SJ started on fire against the Titans in bewildering late-season loss.
60. Bombs away (2011)
Johnson played a vital role in the perfect revenge against the Tigers later that season, hoisting the kick for Krisnan Inu’s hectic match-winner in a semi-final thriller.
58-59. Leading the Roosters on a merry dance (2012)
The Roosters learned you can’t give SJ this much time and space. Grabbed a second try from a bomb for good measure in a 30-26 win.
54-57. Performing for a packed house (2018)
Best on ground in the double-header win over the Cowboys, kicking five-from-five, a 40/20 and laying on a couple of tries.
53. Zill of the chase (2014)
After taking an offload from a rookie Fusitu’a, Johnson burned around Will Zillman for a dazzling 50-metre try in a 24-16 away win.
52. Elusive (2016)
The Knights are still looking for him.
51. Link man (2018)
Featuring two touches from Johnson, this got TWL’s vote as the Warriors’ best try of 2018.
50. Don’t have a cow (2011)
Johnson gave the first true indication of his scintillating pace with this solo effort against the Cowboys in just his third first-grade game.
49. Fifth and last (2014)
How many times has Shaun scorched teams expecting a kick on the last? This one resulted in a line-break and an assist for Konnie to steam away.
48. Hammer down (2017)
Phenomenal footwork to put the icing on a strong win over the Broncos.
47. Like a knife through hot butter (2018)
A sizzling start to 2018 from Johnson as the Warriors broke their Perth duck.
42-46. Sizzling second half (2015)
Johnson came into this clash on the Gold Coast under heavy scrutiny but responded with an incredible second-half display in a 36-14 win, scoring two solo tries and having a key hand in three more for his teammates.
39-41. Drought-breaker (2018)
In his last truly great performance for the Warriors, Johnson set up three tries in a thumping win over the Panthers that confirmed the end of the club’s seven-year finals absence.
36-38. Raided! (2014)
A second 26-point haul against the Raiders less than half a season featured another intercept and a 90-metre special. But arguably his best touch was a brilliant hand in Sam Tomkins’ second-half try.
34-35. Second-year syndrome? (2012)
Johnson made a statement in the first game of his sophomore NRL campaign, spearheading a comeback in a grand final replay against Manly at a packed Eden Park. He set up Manu Vatuvei and scored a powerful solo try after the Warriors had fallen 16-0 behind, but the Sea Eagles eventually hung on 26-20.
33. The ecstasy, the agony (2015)
A sensational solo try marked the end of the Warriors’ finals hopes in 2015, with the in-form halfback breaking his ankle while reaching out to score against Manly.
32. Too much pace (2013)
A 90-metre runaway sparked the Warriors’ comeback against the James Maloney’s Roosters in 2013 – eventually going down 16-14 when Johnson shanked a late conversion.
31. Eel take that one (2014)
A slick little grubber before winning the race to the ball himself in a 48-0 mauling of the Parramatta.
30. Don’t call it a comeback (2016)
Taking the field for the first time since his horrific broken ankle at the Nines, Johnson saved the Warriors’ blushes with a last-minute try in their final pool match against Brisbane, allowing them to scrape through to the quarters.
28-29. Tigers by the tail (2013)
SJ stole the show with two runaway tries in a rare win at Leichhardt.
27. Hit and spin (2013)
One of my personal favourite illustrations of his instinctive genius, spinning as he catches an offload to leave a Titans defender stranded before sending Ropati away for the try.
26. Sealing the deal (2014)
Yet another intercept, but few more crucial than this one to clinch a 30-20 win over the Panthers in 2014.
25. Started it, finished it (2015)
A week after scoring a last-minute match-winner at Cronulla, Johnson combined with Jono Wright for a ripper at Parramatta Stadium.
24. Cloud Nines (2014)
Johnson was the face of the inaugural Auckland Nines, a format custom-made for his hot-stepping brilliance. He delivered big time by taking out Player of the Tournament honours.
23. Plucking the Roosters (2016)
Johnson’s solo try was the difference in a Mount Smart cliff-hanger against the Tricolours.
22. Shut the gate (2013)
Check out the footwork as Johnson snaffles the intercept, before running 80 for the try.
21. Toying with the Tigers (2018)
One of Johnson’s truly magic moments of his last season as a Warrior.
20. Going the length (2011)
SJ’s longest try, taking a Kevin Locke offload on the Warriors’ 10-metre line and outstripping the Panthers’ cover for one of 2011’s best solo efforts.
19. Thigh gap (2016)
Johnson shrugged off a thigh injury to score one of best solo tries, running 60 metres at a crucial juncture in a 27-18 defeat of the Titans.
17-18. Late grand final charge (2011)
The Warriors were caught on their heels for the first hour of their 2011 grand final against Manly with danger-man Johnson well-contained but the rookie exploded in the last 20 minutes to give his side a late sniff, laying on tries for Manu Vatuvei and Elijah Taylor.
16. Mowing down Jennings (2013)
Johnson’s most memorable defensive moment, running down quicksilver Roosters centre Michael Jennings in an epic 2013 win.
15. Assist of the Year (2016)
Minutes before he stole the show with a match-winning solo try in the dying seconds, Johnson lit up Shark Park with this breath-taking try-assist.
12-14. Crushing it in Christchurch (2018)
Coming back from a five-week injury layoff, Johnson marked his 150th game with a runaway try and two eye-watering assists for Fusitu’a.
11. Third time’s a charm (2014)
Johnson’s third touch in an adlib movement saw him dot down for the winning try on Anzac Day in 2014.
8-10. Hat-trick hero (2013)
A 26-point haul at the Raiders’ expense included the fastest hat-trick in NRL history – all three tries involving some customary magic.
7. Golden eye (2016)
Gonna rush up offside at my field goal attempts? I’ll just grab a golden point try then.
5-6. Capital punishment (2018)
The Warriors went 3-0 for the first time after Johnson piloted over two field goals in the last two minutes in Canberra.
4. Bronco buster (2011)
Johnson produced arguably the greatest solo try in Warriors history in only his eighth first-grade game, blitzing the Broncos in a Suncorp Stadium classic.
3. Storm in a teacup (2015)
Never were Johnson’s stocks higher than after guiding the Warriors into the top four with an authoritative win over Melbourne. Nathan Friend’s upside-down pass stole the headlines, but Johnson’s breath-taking solo try was the purists’ highlight. Injury shattered his and the Warriors’ campaign a fortnight later.
2. Cometh the hour (2015)
One of the great clutch individual tries in premiership history.
1. Grand final-bound (2011)
Playing just his 15th NRL game, Johnson outpointed Cooper Cronk with a brilliantly controlled kicking game before sealing a preliminary final boilover against the Storm with a now-iconic cross-field jaunt to set up a try for Lewis Brown.