Johnson signs with Cronulla Sharks

Shaun Johnson was granted an early release from his two-year contract with the Warriors this week...
Shaun Johnson was granted an early release from his two-year contract with the Warriors this week. Photo: Getty Images

Former Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson has signed a three-year deal with the Cronulla Sharks.

Johnson was granted an early release from his two-year contract with the Warriors after his relationship with the club deteriorated in a matter of weeks.

Last month Johnson was told by the Warriors he was free to test his value on the free market, indicating the Auckland NRL side wasn't willing to offer him another million-dollar-a-year deal.

Johnson was in Sutherland Shire today and met with Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan and chief executive Barry Russell before finalising the deal.

The 28-year-old will return to New Zealand for the remainder of the year before joining the Sharks in the New Year for pre-season training.

"It's been a crazy few weeks but it's good to lock it all away. I can't wait to get over here and to rip in. It's really exciting," Johnson said. "I want to add value where I can. The Sharks are a tough side, they know how to win and that's what I'm excited to be a part of," Johnson said.

Johnson has been the face of rugby league in New Zealand since his breakout debut season in 2011, during which he guided the side to the grand final.

Despite amassing 162 first-grade and 29 test appearances, his inability to win a premiership and questions about his consistency have dogged him throughout his career.

His exit from the Warriors was hastened after he was informed by management he wouldn't be offered a deal beyond 2019, prompting him to ask for a release in search of an opportunity elsewhere.

He will now play behind one of the best forward packs in the competition, which features the likes of Paul Gallen, Aaron Woods, Wade Graham and Andrew Fifita, all of whom are renowned for their grit and resilience.

Johnson effectively takes fullback Valentine Holmes' spot in the Sharks roster, after the Queensland and Australian star's decision to chase his NFL dream in America.

Johnson will help nurture Flanagan's son, 20-year-old halfback Kyle, who made his NRL debut this year.

In their press release, the Sharks said Johnson will likely start at five eighth alongside his former halves partner at the Warriors, Chard Townsend.

- additional reporting by AAP

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