Johnson hoping to return in NRL Nines

Injured Warriors star Shaun Johnson is confident of returning to action in the NRL Auckland Nines tournament in the first weekend of February.

Johnson, crowned the Golden Boot winner for being the world’s best player last season, suffered a season-ending broken ankle after scoring a try in their recent defeat to Manly.

“It’s going to be my target,” he said.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to is confident I can get there too.”

It’s the first time Johnson has suffered a serious injury and he spent the first two weeks lying on a couch with the ankle in a cast.

“That was frustrating enough, but knowing I couldn’t do anything to help my teammates – that was really tough,” he said.

“Then hearing all the criticism that has been coming our way – it has been a challenge.”

The Warriors are on a five-match losing streak that has seen them drop from fourth to 10th, leaving them in danger of missing the play-offs.

Johnson was back in the Warriors gym this week and is boosted at being able to be more active.

“When I got out of that big cast and into this moon boot, it was like heaven.”

The 24-year-old underwent an operation to have the ankle screwed back together.

He expects to walk without crutches in a month and to be running at the start of December.

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