Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson reflects on a 2015 season which was filled with plenty of moments to savour but was ultimately defined by the ankle injury which ended his campaign just as the club was in position to make it into the NRL finals for the first time since his rookie year in 2011.
The 25-year-old Johnson is now well into his rehab as he aims to be back running in December.
He’d been in outstanding form until he broke his left ankle while scoring his eighth try of the season – and a stunning effort it was – in the 27th minute of the 20th-round home game against Manly on July 25. The outcome couldn’t have been worse for Johnson or the club.
A week earlier Johnson had become the 23rd player and the third NYC graduate to appear in 100 NRL games for the Vodafone Warriors. While the achievement was memorable for him personally it coincided with a disappointing day as the Vodafone Warriors were beaten 24-0 by the Sydney Roosters.
Before that Johnson had been a critical contributor in a number of matches, most notably with his brilliant match-winning plays in the closing moments of the 20-16 away win over Cronulla and again a week later with some wonderful footwork for a try in the 17-13 golden point victory over the Eels at Parramatta Stadium.
After a bye, Johnson maintained his form with two try assists as the Vodafone Warriors made it three wins on end beating Newcastle 24-20 at Mount Smart Stadium.
After losses to South Sydney (away) and the Roosters (home), the halfback ignited the Vodafone Warriors with a double (and 116 metres) in their 36-14 away win over Gold Coast. His 20 points that night took him past 500 career points.
The Gold Coast success started another run of three straight wins with Johnson striking with a try, two assists and 122 metres in the 30-8 home win against Canberra and, after a week off for a bye, a try, an assist and 213 metres in the Vodafone Warriors’ best performance of the season when they beat Melbourne 28-14.
Earlier in the season Johnson revelled as the Kiwis ended their Anzac Test drought with a superb 26-12 win in Brisbane, scoring a try, making 135 metres and kicking five goals.
SHAUN JOHNSON | 2015 NRL STATS
Games | 18
Points | 130
Tries | 8
Goals | 48
Field goals | 2
Total runs | 169
Total metres | 1402
Average runs per game | 9.3
Average metres per game | 77.9
Line breaks | 13
Try assists | 11
Off loads | 10
Total tackles | 280
Watch a collection of Shaun Johnson’s tries from 2015 in the video below.