Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Shaun Johnson looking good for Auckland Nines

Shaun Johnson in action against the Canberra Raiders at last year's NRL Nines. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Shaun Johnson in action against the Canberra Raiders at last year's NRL Nines. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Shaun Johnson says he is on track to play at the Auckland Nines - but he is not going to "do anything silly" if there is any doubt over his injured ankle.

The Warriors halfback broke his ankle and tore ligaments in a late season clash with Manly last year, after getting his leg trapped under defender.

He's been out of the game since then - and both Warriors and the Kiwis struggled without him - but he looks likely to return to action at the Nines event next month.

"[Recovery] has been pretty slow but over the last month I feel I have made some massive improvements with it and that has given me an opportunity to play in the Nines." said Johnson.

The 25-year-old said surgeons, as well as the club's medical staff are "really pleased" with his progress.

However, as much as Johnson wants to return to action - and he is tailor made for Nines play - the halfback insists that he is not going to take any risks just to take part in the pre-season event.

"I'm not going to play if I am not right," said Johnson. "I don't want people to give the impression that all I care about is the Nines. We have a long season ahead so I don't want to do anything silly. But if I feel like I am ready to play then [the] coach has said I'm going to play".

"I'm training pretty much full sessions," added Johnson. "[There is] just a bit of the contact stuff I am not doing at the moment but that will start happening over the next couple of weeks."

Johnson added that the Warriors squad is shaping up well, but is wary to hype things up too much ahead of any matches being played.

"Everyone is looking fit but it is easy at the moment," said Johnson. "There is no pressure we are just getting through trainings, trying to prepare for the season."

Johnson has spent a couple of evenings at the ASB Classic this week and invited teammates Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to join him last night.

- NZ Herald

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