Shaun Johnson returns to where it all started when he makes his 100th NRL appearance in the Vodafone Warriors’ 19th-round NRL encounter with the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off local time, 4.00pm NZT).
Now 24, he made his debut there as a 20-year-old in a 6-13 loss to the Roosters on June 04, 2011 going on to appear in the grand final in his rookie season.
Johnson teams up in the halves with Chad Townsend for the 17th consecutive time this season when the fourth-placed Vodafone Warriors take on a Roosters side two points ahead of them in third place.
Johnson becomes the 23rd player to appear in 100 games for the club and the first since prop Jacob Lillyman made his 100th appearance in the final game of the 2013 season.
Johnson was outstanding in Sunday’s 28-14 win over Melbourne, a record winning margin in matches against the Storm at Mount Smart Stadium.
Apart from scoring a stunning try and having a key hand in the side’s other four tries, he made a game-high 213 metres from 15 runs, had eight tackle breaks, two line breaks and two line break assists while also making 17 tackles without a miss.
With four goals he took his career tally to 538 points including 44 tries. He is now closing in on third spot on the club’s all-time points-scoring list, nine points behind former halves partner and now Roosters opponent James Maloney (547). Ahead of them are Manu Vatuvei (584) and Stacey Jones (674).
Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has today named the same line-up fielded against Melbourne with veteran prop Sam Rapira on a five-man bench. Wing Manu Vatuvei (shoulder), centre Konrad Hurrell (shoulder) and second rower Ryan Hoffman (calf) are still on the injured list with Vatuvei and Hurrell targeted to return for the July 25 home game against Manly and Hoffman on track to be available for August 1 home game against Cronulla.
With three consecutive wins for the second time this season – and six from their last eight games – the Vodafone Warriors have climbed into the rare position of being inside the NRL’s top four. The last time they were in the top tier was 89 games ago after the 24th round in their grand final season in 2011; it was the only week they were in the top four that season.
Indeed the Vodafone Warriors have been among the leading four teams for just three weeks since 2007. The other two occasions were in the opening rounds of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns; they were first at the end of round two in 2009 (after winning their first two matches of the season) and fourth after round three in 2010.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
2.00pm, Sunday, July 19
1 SAM TOMKINS
2 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
3 DAVID FUSITU'A
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 JONATHAN WRIGHT
6 CHAD TOWNSEND
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 NATHAN FRIEND
10 BEN MATULINO
11 BODENE THOMPSON
12 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER
13 SIMON MANNERING (c)
14 SILIVA HAVILI
15 SIONE LOUSI
16 CHARLIE GUBB
17 ALBERT VETE
18 SAM RAPIRA
HEAD COACH: ANDREW McFADDEN