Kearney right to question effort: Johnson

It stung to admit it but Shaun Johnson has conceded the Warriors’ questionable effort was “rightly addressed” after their infamous NRL loss to last-placed Newcastle.

But the playmaker promises long-suffering fans the Warriors are determined to achieve “something special” despite last Sunday’s loss to Canberra extending their finals drought.

Johnson confirmed he would miss Friday night’s clash with South Sydney and would return from a knee injury next week against Manly.

But the pain of missing the finals yet again bothers Johnson more than his troublesome knee.

The Warriors have not featured in finals action since losing the 2011 NRL grand final to Manly.

That trend did not look like ending any time soon after Warriors coach Stephen Kearney questioned their effort in the wake of a shock 26-10 loss to the Knights a fortnight ago.

“In any sport to be told that your desire or effort or heart was not there was probably the toughest thing to take,” Johnson told Fox Sports’ League Life.

“But a couple of weeks ago after Newcastle it was rightly addressed.

“If you look at our performance the boys have been really ripping in, and we have made some real gains in areas that we weren’t so good at a couple of years ago.

“But if you are not getting the results it doesn’t really matter.

“We need to find a way just to win. We have to bind together and get it done.”

Johnson admitted the Warriors were convinced they would feature in 2017 finals action after the recruitment of Kiwi playmaker Kieran Foran and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s return from a serious knee injury.

“There has been a lot of hype around this squad that we have got and I think rightly so,” Johnson said.

“But the disappointment (of missing finals) is on us. You work so hard to be a part of finals footy.

“We were really chasing it this year. We really wanted it. We really believed we could be there.

“The most disappointing thing is that it is August and I am already talking about how we are not going to be there again – it is not a good feeling.

“But I know we can achieve something special so I am really looking forward to that.”

The 12th placed Warriors hope to snap a six-game losing run against a Manly side desperate to bounce back from last round’s shock loss to Wests Tigers to stay in the top-eight hunt.

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