Monday’s first NRL Round 4 match is between New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights. The opening bounce is set to commence at 13:05 local time with the game to be played at Mt Smart Stadium. The away team Penrith Panthers are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights.
When: 13:05 | Monday 28/03/2016
Where: Mt Smart Stadium
Tip: New Zealand Warriors at $1.24
Value Tip: First Try Scorer: Shaun Johnson at $14.00
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Tuimoala Lolohea 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Jonathan Wright 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Jeff Robson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14. Charlie Gubb 15. Sam Lisone 16. Konrad Hurrell 17. Albert Vete
* Konrad Hurrell comes onto the bench for Nathaniel Roache (ankle). Sam Lisone (shoulder) returns from injury at the expense of James Gavet.
1 Dane Gagai 2 Nathan Ross 3 Sione Mata’utia 4 Pat Mata’utia 5 Cory Denniss 6 Jarrod Mullen 7 Trent Hodkinson (c) 8 Sam Mataora 9 Tyler Randell 10 Korbin Sims 11 Jacob Saifiti 12 Robbie Rochow 13 Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14 Danny Levi 15 Mickey Paea 16 Lachlan Fitzgibbon 17 Pauli Pauli
* Unchanged from draw with the Raiders.
Warriors star Shaun Johnson says he’s learned to be patient as he battles to regain his electric running form of old in his return from serious injury.
Johnson is three NRL games back from a broken left ankle that ended his 2015 season and admitted on Wednesday that he was still rebuilding his confidence.
The 14-Test Kiwi and former Golden Boot winner as world league’s best player has copped flak during the Warriors’ three-loss start to the year.
One criticism has been that the playmaker isn’t running the ball enough.
Johnson, 25, says it’s a case of instinct and making a dart when he feels there’s an opportunity, something he has done all his career.
“Every try I’ve scored, every person I’ve stepped, every linebreak I’ve made, I’ve never thought, okay, I’m going to run now,” Johnson said on Wednesday.
“It’s off the back of instinct and maybe I’m just lacking in a little bit of confidence with that at the moment.”
Johnson traced the dip in confidence to “probably being out of the game for eight months” and the manner of the injury.
It was after a trademark jinking effort against Manly at Mt Smart Stadium last July that Johnson suffered the ankle break, his leg getting jammed in a tackle as he dotted down for a try.
“When I run the ball, I run to break a tackle, I run to do something, so putting myself in that position, getting dragged down from behind – they’re are all things I’m getting through at the moment,” he said.
“I know people don’t show too much sympathy in that area, expect me just to come out and run the ball and do all the magic stuff that I was doing when I got injured, but it just doesn’t happen like that.
“I’ve learnt not to get frustrated with it. I know that part of my game is something that will come back to me.”
Similarly, Johnson believes it’s a matter of time before his combination with Jeff Robson, an off-season arrival from Cronulla, begins to click.
He said it the same with any halves pairing.
“It’s one thing you can’t rush, but I’m certainly enjoying it,” he said.
“He’s is a very calm, experienced player and a really good player to play alongside.”
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change