Incoming Warrior Shaun Johnson has revealed how he was “95 percent on track” to join the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The classic 31-year-old will join the Warriors next season, after signing a two-year deal that reunites him with the club where he became a star.
Prior to signing this deal at the end of June, Johnson’s future was a source of constant speculation, with inbound suggestions Craig Fitzgibbon did not see Johnson as part of Cronulla’s future.
Now Johnson has revealed that during that time he was on the verge of signing with the Bulldogs, where he would have formed a half along with Dally M Center of the Year, Matt Burton, who will return to jersey No. 6, when he joins the Bulldogs in 2022.
“It was the credit card,” Johnson said The Ice Project Podcast.
“I remember after playing the Panthers I pulled Matty Burton for a talk and said ‘what do you think, bro?’ and he said ‘yes, please come’.
“At the time, I was pretty much 95 percent on the road (to the Bulldogs).
“I really loved what [Bulldogs coach] Trent Barret made there, loved the group he gathered.
“The time he showed me, we had some really good chats.”
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While Johnson’s first exit from New Zealand was a highly publicized and messy fallout, he revealed that it was the influence of Phil Gould who was with the Warriors as a consultant at the time that enabled the inbound return.
“I think without Pil’s influence, I do not know if this had happened,” Johnson added.
“The way things ended [at the end of 2018], there was that kind of inconvenience, a little unrest, and we had never smoothed it over with Cameron George, the CEO.
“When Phil got involved, he said ‘you’re the best solution for the club at the moment, do you think it can work?’
“I was pretty much like” of course it can work. I’m not going to be the guy who sticks to something my whole life.
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