David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors five-eighth Shaun Johnson 'pissed off and frustrated'

Shaun Johnson regrets not setting himself up to take a field goal to break the 14-14 deadlock in Sunday's 21-14 loss to Melbourne. Photo/Getty.
Shaun Johnson regrets not setting himself up to take a field goal to break the 14-14 deadlock in Sunday's 21-14 loss to Melbourne. Photo/Getty.

Warriors five-eighth Shaun Johnson says he is "pissed off and frustrated" after failing to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the dying stages of Sunday's 21-14 defeat to Melbourne Storm.

Johnson was bitterly disappointed with his own performance, believing he missed opportunities to run the ball, and for neglecting to set himself up to take a field goal to break the 14-14 deadlock inside the final five minutes.

A week after critics called for the No6 to be dropped after a lacklustre outing against Brisbane, Johnson admitted he needs to rediscover his attacking mojo, and said he and halves partner Jeff Robson need to improve the way they close out matches.

"I'm pissed off again and frustrated," said Johnson.

"That was there for us to take. The one point didn't once cross my mind and it's not until after you look back on it and go, 'hold on, there was five minutes to go and we had a set down on their line'.

"That tone I'm using is just me reflecting on my own performance and nothing to do with the team's.

"The way we were able to come back in that second-half, there's a lot of positives there. But me and the other halves, we've got to look at how we finish those games off.

"I've just got figure out my own shit and I've got to contribute better than I have been."

Johnson believes he needs to find a way to better contribute to the Warriors attack. Photo/Getty.
Johnson believes he needs to find a way to better contribute to the Warriors attack. Photo/Getty.

Three straight defeats to start the season leave the Warriors struggling down in 14th spot on the NRL ladder, ahead of only the Sea Eagles (who play Cronulla tonight) and the last-placed Roosters.

They have another home match next Monday, against the 13th-placed Newcastle Knights, but Johnson says he must find a way to break defensive lines and threaten more with his renown running ability.

The Broncos, last year's grand finalists, and the Storm, are the two best defensive sides in the competition, and masters at limiting the room given to opposition playmakers.

That's no excuse for his lack of attacking intent, he says, and neither does he accept the recent switch to stand-off has affected his game, as history has shown he has the footwork and speed to make the NRL's best tacklers look silly.

"With what I feel like I can do, it doesn't matter who you put in front of me," he said.

"We were poor in getting to our points (from which to launch their attack) and that probably limited how I thought I was going to get the ball.

"There's still opportunities I'm missing. That's up to me to fix. The boys are doing their job, they're giving the ruck speed, the middles (forwards) are doing a terrific job and I'm not doing my role. I've got to find something."

Johnson admitted the wave of criticism coming the Warriors way was hard to stomach but remains confident the side is close to putting together a complete 80 minute performance.

"We've played two quality sides and haven't been able to get the job done but we're there or thereabouts and the penny's going to drop for us. Then we'll see who's saying what."

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