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Johnson called into All Stars league clash

craigcooper

craigcooper

Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson will play in the All Stars match after Melbourne Storm's Cooper Cronk pulled out with an injury.
Cronk, the 2012 premiership-winning halfback, pulled out of the NRL All Stars side for the match against the Indigenous All Stars on February 9 with a back complaint.
Cronk's position as Wayne Bennett's 'coach's pick' in the NRL All Stars side has been taken by 22-year-old Johnson.
"It's all a bit surreal for me at the moment," Johnson said.
"It's exciting and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of playing alongside so many quality players as well as being in a side coached by Wayne Bennett.
"It's a massive honour."
Johnson is the third Warrior to feature in the match, joining Feleti Mateo on the bench while new recruit Dane Nielsen was a coach's pick by Indigenous All Stars coach Laurie Daley.
Meanwhile, Melbourne are confident Cooper Cronk will be fit for the World Club Challenge despite his withdrawal from the match.
The Storm play Super League champions Leeds at Headingley on February 22.
Club medical staff said he would sit out training for five to seven days in the hope of being fit to face Leeds. 
TerryG

TerryG

Wayne Bennett is one of the greatest League coaches of all time. He has a way of getting the best out of players. Over the years, I've learned not to doubt him, even when the reasoning behind some decisions – signing the ageing Willie Mason and Timana Tahu for the Knights comes to mind – might not have been immediately obvious.

Calling up Shaun Johnson to cover for an injured Cooper Cronk, is a big vote of confidence in Shaun's future. While Shaun certainly merits the selection, there's also the question of who else would have been in the running and how close was the decision?

Would Daly Cherry-Evans have been available for consideration? DCE has a far better kicking game than SJ who has no field or penalty goals, conversions or 4020's to his name. DCE has twice as many kick metres and also plays with far more aggression leading SJ in tackle breaks, off loads and hit-ups.

In the two seasons that each have played, SJ is marginally ahead in tries and try assists, but what may have appealed most to Wayne Bennett is that SJ concedes significantly fewer penalties and makes far fewer errors than DCE. Wayne seems to love precision and maybe that's what has given Shaun the big tick.

This is a great opportunity for Shaun. Hope it goes well for him. 
craigcooper

craigcooper

It certainly is a big vote of confidence and I hope the kid plays really well. 
TerryG

TerryG

Shaun Johnson was interviewed by ABC Grandstand about the All Stars Game.

You can listen to the interview (3 minutes) by playing the following mp3 file....

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/news/audio/news-audio/201302/20130207-allstars-johnson.mp3 

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