The Cronulla Sharks fullback’s mullet is no more, but for a very good cause.
Four years after he last combined with Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson has boldly predicted he will pick up where he left off with the playmaker in the Cronulla halves in 2019.
Former Golden Boot winner Johnson says he has hit the ground running at the Sharks since seeking an off-season release from the Warriors which launched his stunning career back in 2011.
While Johnson admitted it was a culture shock to move to a new club, the playmaker believed it was just like old times after linking with halfback Townsend who enjoyed a Warriors stint from 2014-15.
Johnson has been impressed with how much Townsend has transformed at Cronulla since their Warriors playing days, but believed they still had plenty in common.
“We were both just boys back then. Coming here and seeing him in such a leadership role and having such a voice around the club it’s been really impressive,” he told NRL.com website.
“But I am sure our combination is going to pick straight up where we left it.
“It takes time (to combine) but the benefit for me is that I am coming into a system that is already very well established.
“They have a certain way they want to play and that has worked for a number of years now – hopefully I add to that and bring my own flavour to it.”
Johnson also predicted big things from his combination with Matt Moylan, who moved to fullback after the Kiwi superstar sought a release from his final year at the Warriors and signed a three season Sharks deal.
“Working with Moylan at the back, I think it is coming along nicely,” Johnson said.
“He is an out and out footy player, doesn’t overthink situations, just plays what is in front of him which is what I really like.
“I think we are going to have a pretty good combo this year.”
Johnson’s Warriors departure may have raised eyebrows but the 29-Test New Zealand star said it was just the change he needed ahead of his ninth NRL season.
“I have come in with a different mindset. It has freshened me up, hopefully we can see that with my footy this year,” he said.