Halfback Shaun Johnson is out of the Vodafone Warriors’ 21st-round NRL clash against Canberra on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
The 23-year-old hasn’t travelled with the squad on today’s Air New Zealand flight to Sydney en route to Canberra.
Johnson succumbed to a groin injury late in the Vodafone Warriors’ final training run before last week’s clash against Manly, forcing him to miss an NRL match for the first time since the last round of the 2012 regular season (when was left out for the home encounter with Canberra).
Johnson tweaked the injury again in the squad’s field session yesterday.
Head coach Andrew McFadden rated the halfback as an unlikely starter for the critical clash against the Raiders and today confirmed Johnson wouldn’t travel.
It will be the first time Johnson has missed two matches in a row in his 79-game NRL career.
After being used in three consecutive matches following his debut in 2011 he was left out for one match before returning and establishing himself as the first-choice halfback right through to the grand final against Manly.
The only other game he had missed until now was the 2012 Anzac Day encounter with Melbourne when he was out with a shoulder injury.
In Johnson’s absence, Thomas Leuluai is again set to start in the halves in what will be his third match back from a lay-off with his own going injury. Tuimoala Lolohea, who became Vodafone Warrior No 192 last week, will come onto the bench again.