Warriors star sidelined again after humbling NRL defeat

Melissa Woods |

An ongoing achilles issue means the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson will miss at least a month.
An ongoing achilles issue means the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson will miss at least a month.

Star playmaker Shaun Johnson will be sidelined for another month as the Warriors look to regroup from their embarrassing loss last round.

The Warriors were thrashed 66-6 by NRL strugglers Gold Coast, which their coach Andrew Webster admitted was “hard to watch”.

Webster refuted talk that there were internal issues within the club, who have slumped to 13th on the ladder.

“I’m really confident it’s nothing, I feel like they’re a happy group,” he said.

Their next challenge is against Brisbane in Auckland on Saturday, with Johnson again unavailable because of his ongoing achilles injury.

The veteran half missed three matches, then returned for their loss to Melbourne and then the Titans.

But Webster revealed on Tuesday that the injury had flared again.

Also battling an ankle injury in the pre-season, Johnson has struggled for fitness and form, with the Warriors only winning three of 12 games when he has started the game at halfback.

“Shaun is going to be out for at least four weeks,” Webster said.

“It’s all around the achilles – Shaun rehabbed it and it felt amazing, but he hasn’t come back the way he wanted.

“You could see he couldn’t do what he needed to do, so he’ll be out for four weeks at least.

“We’ve made a decision, we’re all on board and we’re going to give him what the right amount of time is to get him back in shape … he’s just not physically there (at the moment).”

Webster confirmed Te Maire Martin would move into halfback against the Broncos, with Chanel Harris-Tavita coming in at No.6.

The coach, who steered the Warriors to the preliminary finals last year where they lost to Brisbane, said he was shocked by their dismal defence against Gold Coast.

“It was hard to watch, hard to take considering we didn’t see it coming,” Webster said.

“I thought we were hitting form. We didn’t beat Melbourne, but I physically thought we were great for a month, and we certainly weren’t great on the weekend.

“Our tackling was poor and it was hard to see … we looked flat and slow and lethargic.”

He said they couldn’t dwell on that performance if they wanted to have a chance of downing the Broncos, with the match to be played in front of another sell-out crowd at Go Media Stadium.

“But I think that little burning feeling that everyone’s got right now is going to be driving people,” Webster said.

“I suspect there’s an inner fire to prove to each other and to our fans that that’s not us.”

AAP