League legend says Shaun Johnson primed for finals run
16 September, 2020, 12:12 pm
If the Sharks are to make any meaningful impact on finals football it will come off the back in-form playmaker Shaun Johnson, says league great Peter Sterling.
Johnson was the architect of Cronulla’s 22-14 finals sealing win over the Warriors on Sunday in what has fast-become a Dally M contending back-end of the season for the 30-year-old.
Having failed to secure a win over any side above them on the ladder this season, the Sharks aren’t widely considered genuine premiership contenders. Johnson’s form however has Sterling on his toes.
He believed Cronulla have what it takes rattle the cage, and the responsibility lies squarely on Johnson’s shoulders.
“If they are to make a dent in the finals, unfortunately for Shaun Johnson the pressure is on his shoulders,” Sterling told Wide World of Sports’ Sterlo’s Wrap.
“Townsend will come back, he’ll make a difference. Moylan might come back and he’ll play a role. But Shaun Johnson is the class, he’s the point of difference for them.
“Against the Warriors he did it with and without the football. Great vision to put a kick in early for Katoa to open the scoring, but he did it without the football as well.
“His effort on Harris-Tavita to save the day was fantastic. And when they needed points again, the Sharks looked to Johnson and he was able to put a kick through for Mulitalo.
“Late in the game when they were under all types of pressure it’s Shaun Johnson who came across and makes the key tackle on George Jennings.
“He’s been there before with the Warriors, with so much pressure. But really if the Sharks are to cause any kind of dent it will be on the back of Shaun Johnson.
“And what we’ve seen this year I think he’s probably better served now than ever before to carry that burden.
“He’s been great. He’s been very, very good all year and been really consistent. When you’ve got such prodigious talent as Shaun Johnson has you just want him to be consistent because that will come out.”
Cronulla sealed their ticket to finals footy in a thrilling final minute frenzy against the Warriors on Sunday.
The win saw the Sharks lock up a spot in the top eight while ending the Warriors’ finals chances.