Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson tuning up for his 80th NRL appearance on Sunday. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

Johnson goes one on one

Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson went one-on-one with Tony Webeck from NRL.com to talk about his likes, dislikes, football, family, fun and more.

 

A CONVERSATION WITH ... SHAUN JOHNSON

Tony Webeck

Team-mates such as Feleti Mateo marvel at the manner in which Vodafone Warriors superstar Shaun Johnson copes with the expectation that has followed him even before getting his start in the NRL.

Disillusioned when junior rugby league coaches repeatedly told him he was too small to make it, Johnson and his mates from Orewa College took their frustrations out on the touch football field and the result was a YouTube video that has now had more than 323,000 views.

It's a video that many of the 89,000-plus people who attended the Auckland Nines in February will have seen and although all 16 NRL teams were on show at Eden Park, those fans were there to see one man: Shaun Johnson.

It's a video that many of the 89,000-plus people who attended the Auckland Nines in February will have seen and although all 16 NRL teams were on show at Eden Park, those fans were there to see one man: Shaun Johnson.

"He's got a lot of responsibility and I think what he's doing is incredible," says Mateo, who also happens to be Johnson's next door neighbour.

"New Zealand Rugby League pretty much hang rugby league on him and he's responded really well. From the Nines and now going into the season I think he's had a wonderful season and hopefully it can continue."

He's the Benji Marshall for a new generation, raised by a single dad who helped put together the highlights reel that would change his life and who admits to goose bumps just thinking about the Auckland Nines experience. But before we get into all that...