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After leading the One New Zealand Warriors to a top four finish in 2023 as, arguably, the form playmaker of the competition, halfback Shaun Johnson believes he hasn’t “really achieved anything” yet and still has plenty to prove in his 14th season in the NRL.

Crowned the RLPA Players’ Champion and just pipped for the Dally M Medal, he added to his already impressive legacy as the club made it just one game short of the 2023 grand final.

However, Johnson is quick to put talk of a career, and club, resurgence in perspective despite his side starting 2024 in the kind of form that made the Warriors so tough to beat last season.

“There were patches throughout last year which are quickly forgotten about in this ‘resurgence’ talk, but I’m not keen to have those patches so I’m still pretty hungry,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve got a point to prove, I haven’t really achieved anything and that’s how we feel as a squad.

I feel like I’ve got a point to prove, I haven’t really achieved anything and that’s how we feel as a squad.

Shaun Johnson One New Zealand Warriors halfback

“We got so close to tasting the ultimate goal last year and when you know you’ve got a squad and what you’re capable of as a side, and you’ve got that confidence, it’s really up to us with how it plays out now.”

While performances, both as a team and individually, have resulted in only one win from the first three games, Johnson is optimistic about the season ahead.

“I feel pretty good, pretty excited about the year and what, personally I can do, and as a team and as a club we can do,” said the former Golden Boot winner.

“Probably haven’t done too much flashy stuff, stuff that gets written about, but certainly stuff I’m pretty proud of about my game that I know my teammates appreciate and certainly the coaching staff as well, so I’m looking to build on that week to week.”

The Kiwi international finished one point behind visiting Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga in the Dally M standings in 2023 but insists individual awards are not what drives him.

“Dally M was never, … it never has been a goal of mine,” he admitted.

“Winning a (competition) and just playing at a high level every week, being able to walk off the field with my head high regardless of the outcome is something that I’m striving for.”

Acknowledgement of Country

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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