Warriors on improve and aiming to take win against Dogs

Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson Sandra Mu / Getty Images

SHAUN Johnson has forged a reputation as an exciting player capable of doing the unexpected but the Warriors halfback takes more satisfaction out of doing just what his teammates need of him.

The 22-year-old is showing good improvement in 2013, partly because he's had to following the departure of James Maloney to the Roosters, and is learning how to control games.

He still has some way to go but, just like his developing partnership with Thomas Leuluai, it's a work in progress.

Last Sunday against the Titans, he produced his fourth 40/20 of the season, put intelligent kicks into the corners or deep and took charge of the situation to set up his winning field goal with 90 seconds remaining - the first of his NRL career.

There was little of the jinking runs or flashy passes. And that's OK by Johnson.

"I'm happy I'm improving," he said.

"You can always get better and that's the direction I am heading in at the moment. I'm understanding my role in the team and [against the Titans] I didn't do anything flashy. I just did my role and that was enough. The fact that we won with that makes me very happy."

The win over the Titans lifted the Warriors off the foot of the NRL ladder and within four points of the top eight and it's hoped the Warriors can now kickstart what has so far been a stuttering season.

They take on an improving Bulldogs side at Wellington tonight and a win would be the first time they had won consecutive games since last July.

They will have to do it without fullback Kevin Locke, who injured his back against the Titans and is out for at least one week, and his place will be taken by Glen Fisiiahi.

They will also be without centre Jerome Ropati (hamstring), which sees a recall for Konrad Hurrell.

Fears prop Sam Rapira might also be sidelined have eased after a scan cleared him of any more damage to an ongoing wrist injury that restricted him to just 24 minutes on Sunday.

Topics:  cantebury bulldogs new zealand warriors nrl rugby league shaun johnson

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