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'I want to win a premiership': Shaun Johnson reveals reasons for Cronulla Sharks move

Sporting News logo Sporting News 6/12/2018
Shaun Johnson standing next to a body of water © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Shaun Johnson says the opportunity to finally win a competition was the motive for his much-publicised move to the Cronulla Sharks.

Unwanted at the New Zealand Warriors beyond 2019, the mercurial halfback was granted a release from his junior club and joined the Sharks on a three-year deal last week.

In his first official media conference as a Shark on Thursday, Johnson told reporters he was enticed to Cronulla with the belief he can achieve premiership glory – something that evaded him at New Zealand.

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The Sharks won their maiden title in 2016 and Johnson – who lost the 2011 grand final with the Warriors – is sensing another on the horizon.

‘’I want to win a comp too and that’s why I’ve come here (to Cronulla). I believe that this club can win another comp and I want to be a part of it," Johnson declared.

On Wednesday, New Zealand general manager Brian Smith admitted the Warriors aren't quite ready to take out the Provan-Summons Trophy, adding weight to Johnson's comments.

It was widely speculated that New Zealand refused to re-sign the Kiwi international due to his reported price tag of around $1 million per season.

But Johnson denied money was a factor in his decision to head to the Sharks, revealing he would have earned more in 2019 by remaining at the Warriors.

"They’re a club that want to do well, they’re a club that are trying to win a premiership and if they don’t see me as being worthy of whatever they offered to pay me in the first place, that’s up to them and that’s fine,’’ Johnson said of New Zealand.

‘’... People can say you're worth ‘X’ amount, but at the end of the day it’s irrelevant. We’re all footy players, we were all playing this game before we got paid and a long time before I was standing in front of these cameras talking to you guys.

‘’People are going to say what they’re going to say but if it was all about the money I would have stayed there. I would have seen my contract out.’’

Despite his unceremonious departure from New Zealand after eight years in the top grade, Johnson refused to sink the boot into his former club and instead focused on his elation at joining the Sharks.

‘’I’m still coming to terms with it, it all happened pretty quickly," he said.

‘’Coming over a few days ago and signing the contract and coming back again yesterday, I’m just really excited about it.

"It seems like an awesome place to live. Meeting a few of the boys and the staff right around the club, it’s a really good place to come and play some good footy.

‘’They can say what they want, both parties are happy with how it has ended.

‘’I’ve got nothing bad to say about the club. I had eight years there where I got to live out a dream that I had ever since I was a kid so it was a bit of an emotional time.

"But I’m looking forward to coming over here and playing some good footy with the Sharks and immersing myself with the community."

The 28-year-old also recounted how a series of text exchanges with Cronulla players helped bring him to the Sutherland Shire.

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