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'No unfinished business': SJ content if 2023 is his final step

If the 2023 season is to be his last, Shaun Johnson says he'll retire content with his achievements and with a smile on his face.

With discussions of an extension in recent weeks, the 32-year-old spoke candidly this week about the prospect of calling time on his 13-season career and confirmed the Warriors are the only club he'll play for if he does go around again. 

Despite having halves Te Maire Martin, Luke Metcalf, Ronald Volkman and, as of last week Chanel Harris-Tavita, signed for next year, coach Andrew Webster has assured Johnson he has a roster spot for 2023 if he wants it

The former Golden Boot winner said while he still has the "competitive bug", he has no point to prove or unfinished business to attend to as a player.

"I am certainly very content with what I have been able to achieve in my career, and if it was just to finish up right now I would leave this smiling," Johnson said. 

I don't have any chip on my shoulder, I don't have a point to prove to anyone. 

Shaun Johnson

"If I do play [then] I want it to be here... I don't want to go somewhere for the wrong reasons, and I just felt like if I was to leave again it wouldn't be right. 

"I don't know where I am meant to fit in, I'm not going to be a front-rower... We have certainly got our fair share of halves here."

Vintage SJ

If he does retire, Johnson is set to remain heavily involved in the game, with a transition into media likely. 

The 32-Test Kiwi also spoke of a desire to get into coaching immediately and believes he can play a role in the club's future success, even if it's from the sidelines.

"If I'm going to play [then] I want to win and want it to be here," he said. 

If I don’t play, I still think I can have an impact. One way or another I can certainly help in other areas. 

Shaun Johnson

"I just want to win, I just want us to win, if that's me in the seven jersey, if that's me commentating and coming to do this [media] stuff and helping out where else I can, so be it. 

"I have got a few things that interest me [post playing]... certainly giving back to kids, educating some of our younger players that are going to be in this club. 

"Helping develop future halfbacks, fullbacks, spine players in particular, that's certainly what I am passionate about.

"I certainly think the club is heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of that, one way or another."

Johnson will line up alongside one of those future prospects for his 196th game in Warriors colours this Saturday when he partners Metcalf in the halves for his side's clash against the Dolphins.

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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