Halfback Shaun Johnson has tonight become the third Vodafone Warriors player involved in the fourth annual All Stars match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, February 9. Photo: Photosport.


The 22-year-old, now preparing for his third NRL campaign, has been called into the NRL All Stars by coach Wayne Bennett to replace injured Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk as a coachs pick on the interchange.


Johnson, who made his Test debut for the Kiwis last year, was stunned to learn of his call-up.


Its all a bit surreal for me at the moment, he said.


(Coach) Matt (Elliott) called me to let me know. Its exciting and Im really looking forward to the opportunity of playing alongside so many quality players as well as being in a side coached by Wayne Bennett. Its a massive honour.


Johnson joins club-mate Feleti Mateo on the bench, Mateo having been voted in as the publics choice as the Vodafone Warriors representative. On the oppositions bench is new signing Dane Nielsen, also selected as a coachs pick by Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley (Nielsen traces his heritage to Darnley Island in the Torres Strait Islands group).


In his first two NRL seasons Johnson has clocked up 38 appearances, scoring 18 tries. He crossed 12 times in 22 games last season.


Johnson becomes the third replacement in the NRL All Stars. Earlier Storm fullback Billy Slater was ruled out with injury and replaced by club-mate Justin ONeill while Gold Coasts Dave Taylor also withdrew (replaced by fellow Titan Ashley Harrison).


NRL All Stars


(*All Stars debutants):

1. Jarryd Hayne (Eels)

2. Akuila Uate (Knights)

3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters)

4. Josh Morris (Bulldogs)

5. Brett Morris (Dragons)

6. Benji Marshall (c) (Wests Tigers)

7. Adam Reynolds* (Rabbitohs)

8. James Tamou* (Cowboys)

9. Cameron Smith (Storm)

10. Ben Hannant (Broncos)

11. Ashley Harrison (Titans)

12. Anthony Watmough(Sea Eagles)

13. Paul Gallen (Sharks)

Interchange:

14. Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)

15. Tim Grant* (Panthers)

16. David Shillington (Raiders)

17. Feleti Mateo (Vodafone Warriors)

18. Justin ONeill (Storm)

Coachs Selections

19. Willie Mason* (Knights)

20. Shaun Johnson* (Vodafone Warriors)


Indigenous All Stars


(*All Stars debutants)

1 Ben Barba (Bulldogs)

2 Reece Robinson* (Raiders)

3 Justin Hodges (Broncos)

4 Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)

5 Blake Ferguson (Raiders)

6 Johnathan Thurston (c) (Cowboys)

7 Scott Prince (Broncos)

8 George Rose (Sea Eagles)

9 Travis Waddell (Not contracted)

10 Andrew Fifita (Sharks)

11 Joel Thompson (Raiders)

12 Greg Bird (Titans)

13 Nathan Peats (Rabbitohs)

Interchange:

14 Ryan James (Titans)

15 Aidan Sezer* (Titans)

16 Joel Romelo* (Bulldogs)

17 Jake Foster* (Raiders)

Coachs Selections:

18 Dane Nielsen* (Vodafone Warriors)

19 Timana Tahu* (Knights)

20 Jack Wighton* (Raiders)


Results

2010Indigenous All Stars 16 def NRL All Stars 12

2011NRL All Stars 28 def Indigenous All Stars 12

2012 NRL All Stars 36 def Indigenous All Stars 28