Shaun Johnson

Warriors name Kodi Nikorima to partner Shaun Johnson in NRL opener

The Kiwis pair have been confirmed to start in the halves for Saturday's clash with the Dragons on the Sunshine Coast.

The match will be Johnson's first in Warriors colours since September, 2018, with the 31-year-old returning after several seasons with the Cronulla Sharks.

Nikorima won the race to partner Johnson, with new recruit Ash Taylor named on the extended bench.

Chanel Harris-Tavita had been given the nod at fullback, filling the void left by suspended young star Reece Walsh.

Legends reunite to show Warriors young guns the way

On the field, Kiwi legend Shaun Johnson will call the shots in the No.7 jersey, returning to the role he made his own in 162 games between 2011-18.

Off the field, the Little General, Stacey Jones, is back on the coaching staff and ready to pass on pearls of wisdom to Jones, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Kodi Nikorima and Ash Taylor.

Jones was the heart and soul of the Warriors between 1995 and 2005, playing 238 games and leading the club to the 2002 grand final before a two-year stint with Catalans in Super League.

Sharks confident Johnson can provide bite

Johnson will play his first game for the Sharks against Newcastle on Friday night, after he was released by the Warriors in an ugly split at the end of last year.

His pick up couldn't have come at a better time for Cronulla, who lost their biggest attacking weapon in Holmes last November.

Holmes led the Sharks last season for tries, linebreaks, tackle busts and running metres, hitting his best just as Cronulla made a run to the preliminary final.

"I think what he brings to the side is a bit of X-factor which we lost with Val," Morris said of Johnson.

'I've got no problem with Shaun Johnson' - Kearney

Kearney has spoken publicly for the first time since Johnson's spectacular departure from the club and his subsequent signing with the Cronulla Sharks.

At the weekend Johnson said Kearney "didn't like him" and that he was left out of discussions about the Warriors' playing rosters, as he was not in the team leadership group.

"I can honestly say after spending close to 20 test matches with him and at close quarters over the last two years... I've got no problem with Shaun," said Kearney.

Warriors reveal Peta Hiku candidate to replace Shaun Johnson in halves

Warriors football general manager Brian Smith is strongly considering promoting a young half already on the Kiwi outfit's books or converting the versatile back Peta Hiku to partner Blake Green in 2019.

That would leave more than $1 million of salary-cap money to spend elsewhere, with the pack a prime target for improvement.

Smith told stuff.co.nz that Johnson's departure to a three-year deal with Cronulla handed Warriors management a chance to dissect the state of their roster.

He said they weren't pursuing any halves elsewhere in the NRL.

Johnson looking for a new home

Last month it was revealed the Warriors told their star player he could test his value on the free market, indicating they weren't willing to re-sign him.

Johnson took to social media Monday afternoon to "clear up" his situation.

He said at this stage there's no contract for him to sign beyond 2019 and that he's already approached some rugby league clubs in Australia to pique their interest.

Raiders not chasing Shaun Johnson

The halfback is off contract at the end of next season and the Warriors have told Johnson he is free to explore offers from other clubs.

Canberra chief executive Don Furner said the club has not made any approaches to Johnson.

News Corp Australia reported earlier this month that the Raiders had been making discreet moves to bring Johnson to Canberra for next season.

"What happens is the manager rings you up and says would you like Shaun Johnson and 'do you think he would be a good player at your club?' and you don't say no," Furner said.

Rugby League: Warriors treatment of Johnson 'harsh'

The Kiwi NRL club has advised long-serving playmaker Johnson to test his value on the open market, even though there's a year to run on his contract.

The timing and public nature of the Warriors announcement was criticised by Nikorima, coming midway through New Zealand's three-Test series in England.

He said his room mate Johnson was caught off guard, days out from Sunday's second Test in Liverpool.

Johnson to return for Manly clash

The 27-year-old has been stalled on 149 games since an ankle injury picked up in the 70th minute of the club's 26-4 win over Wests Tigers last month.

After scoring his 61st career try in the victory, Johnson was then forced to miss the last three outings against the Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and South Sydney.

With his seventh appearance this year, the club's record points-scorer (825 points) will become the 12th member of the Vodafone Warriors' 150-game club having made his debut against the Roosters in 2011 and his 100th against the same opposition in 2015.

Johnson ruled out for Warriors

With Johnson injuring his ankle in the win over the Tigers last weekend, Mason Lino will start in the No 7 jersey in the only change to the playing 17 named for the Indigenous Round battle at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Lino will make his fourth appearance of the season after previously filling the position against the Roosters, North Queensland and Melbourne.

Luke was forced off with a shoulder injury in the 55th minute in the 26-4 over the Tigers, while Blair left the field with an ankle complaint after returning from the bench for his second stint.