Johnson believes Warriors are building

Star halfback Shaun Johnson believes the Warriors are close to nailing a top-drawer performance after a mixed start to the NRL season.

The Warriors improved their win-loss record to 3-3 after downing the Wests Tigers 32-22 in Auckland.

But, despite having the majority of the possession on Saturday night, they needed a try to second rower Bodene Thompson with just over a minute to go to close out the victory.

“It has been a bit frustrating,” Johnson said.

“We feel like we’re not too far off. We’ve done some really good things to start the season but obviously errors and not looking after the ball have let us down.”

After struggling to impose himself in the early rounds, Johnson is again starting to find holes to run into.

Last year’s Golden Boot winner as the world’s best player, he scored one of the Warriors’ six tries against the Tigers, showing his devastating speed to round his marker.

Johnson said he had been working hard in training to combat the numbers that opposition defences were putting on his side of the field.

“To start the year, I thought they had been stacking my side and that created a lot of opportunities on the other side,” he said.

“I guess I’m finding other ways to get into the game and I’m just looking to keep doing that,” he said.

From the Warriors’ perspective, most of the focus for the Tigers match was on Manu Vatuvei, a favourite son who was bringing up 200th appearance for the club.

The giant winger marked his personal milestone with two tries to take his career tally to 140 and match Nigel Vagana as the most prolific New Zealand try-scorer in NRL history.

Johnson pointed to Vatuvei’s humility when asked what the occasion meant to his teammate.

“What he’s done for this club is probably a bigger deal to the boys around him and than to Manu,” he said.

“He’s the sort of guy who didn’t want to make this week about himself at all.

“He treated it like a normal week and he just went out there and did his normal thing. I’m so happy for him that we could get the result.”

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