JOHNSON REFUSES TO RULE OUT EVENTUAL WARRIORS RETURN

Shaun Johnson’s late-2018 departure from Auckland was arguably the most polarising event in the Warriors’ history, splitting the opinion of the club’s fanbase down the middle.

But despite the messy exit, the Cronulla Sharks’ new linchpin told NRL.com’s Inside The NRL show that an eventual return to his hometown and the team he played 162 games for remains a possibility.

“Would I play for the Warriors again? I mean, I won’t burn any bridge, ever,” Johnson’s answer to a fan-submitted question began.

“If the opportunity came and it was the right thing to do, then yeah I would, definitely.”

After co-hosts Katie Brown, Michael Chammas and Jamie Soward teased Johnson about potentially opening up a can of worms, he reiterated he is happy with his move to Sydney and won’t be moving back anytime soon.

“Just for everyone out there, I’m at the Sharks, I’m very happy – it’s the best ever.

“But, I’ve only got three years, you know, so you never know.”

Earlier, former playmaking rival Soward asked Johnson whether he felt leaving the Warriors was a change he needed.

“I probably did, to be fair,” Johnson admitted.

“Now looking back on it – and when you’re in the moment you probably don’t think you do.

“But, obviously, the Warriors saw me … becoming a bit stale, and maybe they were right.

“So I took that on-board and come over here and just asked myself, how do I take my game to the next level?”

Catch the full, wide-ranging interview, where Johnson details his first few months as a Sydneysider, bunking at Andrew Fifita’s house upon his arrival, reuniting with former Warriors teammate Chad Townsend and reveals why he chose Cronulla.

Johnson missed the Sharks’ Round 4 loss to Parramatta with a quad complaint, but racked up three try-assists, seven tackle-breaks and 178 running metres in his first three games for the club.

The 29-Test Kiwi will be 31 when his Cronulla contract expires at the end of 2021, leaving the door ajar for a Benji Marshall-esque ‘return of the prodigal son’ storyline at the Warriors down the track.

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