Shaun Johnson granted immediate release from Warriors

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 10:55AM
Shaun Johnson has been granted his release from the Warriors. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Shaun Johnson has been granted his release from the Warriors. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Warriors CEO Cameron George has announced that halfback Shaun Johnson has been granted an early release from his contract with the NRL club.

This comes after Johnson, who signed a two-year million-dollar deal with the club in 2017, requested the release on Tuesday.

George said the release was effective immediately.

"Yesterday (head coach) Stephen Kearney, (recruitment manager) Peter O'Sullivan and I met with Shaun and his manager Peter Brown," he said.

"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 all the best for the future."

Johnson finishes his Vodafone Warriors career with 917 points from 162 appearances.

As first reported by the Herald, a disgruntled Johnson met with Warriors boss Cameron George and coach Stephen Kearney on Tuesday morning and asked to be granted an immediate release.

It's unclear where the former Golden Boot winner might land but Cronulla are believed to be the early front-runners among a group of at least four clubs willing to bid for his services.

St George Illawarra have also emerged as a potential destination with news overnight out of Sydney that star playmaker Gareth Widdop has sought a release from the last three years of his contract to return home to England.

The Warriors initially dig their heels in refusing to release Johnson but it's believed the situation has become untenable and the break-up now appears the best and only option for both parties.

The developments come after the club announced last month that they had informed Johnson and his agent that they were in no rush to re-sign the mercurial playmaker beyond next season.

The Warriors are believed to have plans in the pipeline to replace the 162-game veteran long-term but is unclear who they plan on placing in the halves alongside five-eighth Blake Green next season.

More to come