BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Free agent Shaun Johnson is set to rekindle his partnership with Chad Townsend with the Cronulla Sharks close to announcing the Kiwi’s signature.
The Warriors confirmed Johnson’s immediate release on Wednesday morning.
“Yesterday (head coach) Stephen Kearney, (recruitment manager) Peter O’Sullivan and I met with Shaun and his manager Peter Brown,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said at a press conference at Warriors HQ.
“During the meeting Shaun clearly demonstrated to us that he didn’t want to be at the club in 2019.
“On the basis of what Shaun told us, we are not going to compromise our culture on and off the field with people who do not wish to represent our club, members and fans in the way we expect.
“Everything we do is about the club being first and what’s best for our future, our development and ultimately our results.
“While it’s disappointing it has come to this, we must acknowledge the contribution Shaun has made to the Vodafone Warriors. We’re proud of what he has achieved at the club and wish him the best for the future.”
Since becoming the starting halfback in Round 14 in 2011, the Warriors are 76-85 with Shaun Johnson in the team.— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) November 27, 2018
They're 6-21 without him.
Johnson and Townsend played together at the Warriors in 2014 and 2015 and their partnership would have continued if Townsend wasn’t forced to return to Sydney due to family illness.
A problem for Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is what to do with son Kyle – a promising halfback on the cusp of full-time first grade.
Johnson needs a level, experienced head alongside him and that isn’t the rookie Flanagan.
If Johnson signs with the Sharks as expected, Flanagan would move Matt Moylan back to fullback and rotate the position with Josh Dugan.
The deal could be finalised as early as this afternoon.