Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George today confirmed long-time fan favourite Shaun Johnson has agreed on terms to return to the club on a two-year deal from next season.
The announcement comes after the off-contract 30-year-old New Zealand international was told by this current club Cronulla Sutherland that he wouldn’t be retained beyond this year.
His return will see him resume his career with the Mount Smart Stadium club after making 162 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors from 2011 to 2018.
“While he left to join the Sharks, Shaun’s heart has always been with the Vodafone Warriors after starting his career here,” said George.
“We’re thrilled we’re able to bring him home to again play in the Vodafone Warriors jersey in front of our members and fans at Mount Smart.
“Shaun stands among the top playmakers in the competition and he’ll give us a significant boost from next season.”
Johnson owns the Vodafone Warriors’ all-time record for most points (917) and also ranks among the club’s leading try scorers with 63.
“Shaun’s homecoming is hugely exciting for both the team and the club as a whole,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown.
“I know how much our club means to him and we also know how much he will bring to the side with not just his proven ability but also with his experience, leadership and the value he’ll provide as a mentor for our halves.”
Johnson’s signing follows the acquisition of his New Zealand teammate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak this week along with recent contract extensions for Josh Curran, Bunty Afoa, Jazz Tevaga, Adam Pompey and Rocco Berry along with the long-term signing of Queensland State of Origin rookie Reece Walsh plus Melbourne prop Aaron Pene.
“It’s terrific for us as a club knowing Shaun is coming home,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“He has big moments in his game but it’s his consistency which has really improved and we believe he can help our young players take their games to another level.
“When we met you could see the passion in his eyes and hear in his voice what returning home means to him.”
Since leaving the Vodafone Warriors, Johnson has made 40 appearances for the Sharks to lift his career tally to 202 games while he has now scored almost 1200 points in total.
After a delayed comeback this season, his return has coincided with a form revival for the Sharks who have climbed to eighth on the ladder with four straight wins.
Born: September 9, 1990
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Clubs: Hibiscus Coast, Northcote Tigers
Previous Clubs: Vodafone Warriors (2011-2018), Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (2019-2021)
Vodafone Warriors No: 168
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Sydney Roosters, Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, June 4, 2011 (Rd 13)
NRL Games: 202 (2011-2021)
Vodafone Warriors: 162 (2011-2018)
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 40 (2019-2021)
NRL Points: 1188 (69 tries, 442 goals, 14 field goals)
Representative: 32 Tests for Kiwis (2012-2019)