Young Warriors half something special - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young Warriors half something special

Wayne Heming 07/08/2011 12:42:00 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin was in awe while his history-making skipper Darren Lockyer described it as "freakish".

And Warriors teammate James Maloney said it was merely a sneak preview of a superstar in the making.

All of it is music to the ears of incoming coach Warriors Brian "Bluey" McClennan who'll reap the benefits of young halfback Shaun Johnson's talent in the NRL for years to come.

Johnson's breathtaking 75-metre try against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night almost stole the spotlight from Lockyer's record equalling 349th game, a battle of to top eight teams won 21-20 by the Broncos thanks to a late Peter Wallace field goal.

After just a handful of NRL games there's a buzz around the flashy 20-year-old Kiwi who is already being tipped to play for New Zealand, possibly at the end of the year in the Four Nations tournament.

The speedster, who hails from Whangaparaoa, thrilled the 37,000-strong crowd with his exhilarating pace and footwork in beating six Brisbane defenders to the try line.

"Pretty freakish," said Lockyer when asked what he thought of Johnson's try.

"It was probably the try of the year for an individual wasn't it?"

Griffin agreed.

"I've seen him play the under-20s, he's a real talent, especially for New Zealand. They haven't had a halfback like that for, I can't remember," he said.

"They've had tough little halfbacks like Friend (Clayton Friend 24 Test), Freeman (Gary Freeman 45 Tests) and Jones (Stacey Jones 48 Tests).

"This kid's a real talent and class."

Johnson's stunning try did not surprise just Griffin.

Newcastle great Andrew Johns first sung Johnson's praises as a future star after watching him dominate for the Junior Kiwis in a game in March, 2009.

A product of Orewa College, Johnson played representative touch and Aussies Rules for New Zealand at school.

He was a member of the College's first XV rugby side but preferred playing rugby league.

Had the CV his father Paul sent across to Gold Coast club Burleigh Bears not been received by an official who was a loyal Kiwi, he may have been playing for the Titans.

The official took one look at Johnson's CV and sent it straight to the Warriors, who pounced.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary, who is heading to South Sydney next season, knows what he is leaving behind with Johnson.

"It was certainly one for the highlight reel," said Cleary of the try.

"He's a super talent and a night like tonight will be really good for him. It shows what he's capable of."

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