Robson to get first go as Warriors No.6

New recruit Jeff Robson will have first shot as halves partner to star Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson when the NRL season begins.

Robson gets his chance as fellow experienced campaigner Thomas Leuluai continues his recovery from a knee operation.

Coach Andrew McFadden says Leuluai remains sidelined after the season-ending injury he suffered in May.

“He’s going to take a little bit longer and Robbo is certainly the logical choice,” McFadden said on Wednesday.

“His composure and his experience is going to be a really good foil for Shaun, but he’s going to have to keep playing well. There’s going to be some pressure on him there as well.”

Robson, 33, arrived at the Warriors on a one-season contract with 152 NRL appearances for Manly, Parramatta and Cronulla.

He played every match for the Sharks last year in a campaign that reached the second weekend of the finals.

Johnson made his return from the ankle injury he suffered last July by leading the Warriors in the NRL Auckland Nines last weekend.

He again showed his ability to step past defenders, although a corked thigh blunted his influence in the final defeat to Parramatta.

“We’ve seen him in training for the past month and, going into the tournament, we felt he was ready for it, but I still breathed a sigh of relief when he got through relatively unscathed,” McFadden said.

“That’s going to be a big confidence booster for him.”

McFadden said the Nines had also shown Johnson had lost none of his speed.

“Is he 100 per cent? Probably not quite yet, but he will definitely get there,” he said.

“The surgeon did a great job and Shaun’s done a fantastic job in looking after it. That’s going to maximise his ability to get back to full recovery.”

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