Shaun Johnson trains with the Sharks at  PointsBet Stadium, Woolooware. Picture: Brett Costello
Shaun Johnson trains with the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium, Woolooware. Picture: Brett Costello

Shaun Johnson says he was ‘too weak’ for the NRL in 2019

SHAN Johnson has labelled his body "too weak" for NRL standard last year.

Johnson arrived at the Sharks as a marquee off-season signing but a host of niggling injuries, headed by a troublesome hamstring, restricted him to 18 games.

He has revamped his training, doing more gym work after cutting short his break to link with the Sharks a month before he needed to after Kiwis duties last year.

"All my attention is focusing on the preseason," Johnson said.

"Getting strong and fit as I can. The games I missed were through being too weak.

"It's important I front-load my energy in that space. I know if I can keep myself on the field and healthy I will have a good year.

"I've started training a lot earlier. I didn't wait for the new year. I came in a week after the Kiwis finished and started ticking over the boxes the club said I needed to tick over.

"I've been in the gym more, squats and dead lifts going. It's going well."

Sharks coach John Morris didn’t see the best of Johnson. Photo: AAP Image/Mark Evans
Sharks coach John Morris didn’t see the best of Johnson. Photo: AAP Image/Mark Evans

Away from the field, Johnson is far more settled too, having married long-time partner and netball star Kayla Cullen. He joined the Sharks in December 2018 after his shock exit from the Warriors.

But part of him was missing for a large chunk of the year.

"There were a lot of challenges and a lot of growth," Johnson said. 

Johnson knew he wasn’t right last season. Photo: AAP Image/Steve Christo
Johnson knew he wasn’t right last season. Photo: AAP Image/Steve Christo

"I enjoyed everything with about moving over here and starting fresh. I'm feeling so much more confident and settled at home. My partner is here, we got married and my dogs are here.

"I feel like I'm ahead of the eight-ball. I am not sorting out living arrangements or trying to get my partner to come over. I don't have to fly back to New Zealand. Everything is here now. I'm looking forward to starting the year off.

"My partner was in New Zealand for six months. I was here on my own. Half your heart is over there still. Once she came over, the back half of the year it showed with the footy I was playing."

Johnson tied the know with partner Kayla Cullen.
Johnson tied the know with partner Kayla Cullen.

Johnson and Cullen have donated the money they received from their wedding wishing well last month to the bushfire appeal.

Johnson is also leading the charge with the Sharks to launch their own charity auction this week.

The 29-year-old is offering one of his Test jerseys, worn in New Zealand's World Cup loss to Tonga in 2017, a worn Sharks jersey and a signed pair of boots.

A host of Cronulla players are also putting up memorabilia for auction, including Andrew Fifita's 100th game ring, on the Sharks website this week.

The Kiwi star is donating some New Zealand memorabilia. Photo: Jonathan Ng
The Kiwi star is donating some New Zealand memorabilia. Photo: Jonathan Ng

"Everyone in Australia is feeling it," Johnson said. "Whether you're Australian or Kiwi. Australia has given a lot of us an opportunity to earn a living. To see what it's going through is very sad.

"Through the club, we have the appeal going, all the players have donated stuff. Jerseys and boots. Everyone has jumped on board with that and donated some pretty important items. Hopefully we can raise enough to help people out."

The Panthers will also launch a charity auction this week.

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News Corp Australia


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