Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Shaun Johnson: In-goal gaffe 'unacceptable'

Shaun Johnson in action against the Penrith Panthers in Christchurch last night. Photo / Getty Images
Shaun Johnson in action against the Penrith Panthers in Christchurch last night. Photo / Getty Images

Warriors half back Shaun Johnson was his own biggest critic after the 30-18 loss to the Panthers on Saturday night, labelling his mistake for Penrith's first try "unacceptable".

It happened early in the match, but was still critical and summed up a game of occasional, but costly lapses for the New Zealand side.

The Warriors were leading 6-0 and had a strong wind behind them, when they conceded a bizarre try which shifted the first half momentum.

Tui Lolohea was driven back following a deep Jamie Soward kick, the fullback guilty of being too upright as he returned the ball. At dummy half a metre from his own line, Johnson dummied to David Fusitua and tried to run himself. He was pushed back into the in goal - in what resembled a driving maul - before his attempted off-load was dived on by Soward.

"[There] were errors at crucial times," said Johnson.

"It is frustrating... just soft. Even the try where I got driven back and looked for an easy way out, it's unacceptable. I think the important thing for us is that we learn from it because that's all we can do from here."

That Soward try was easy in the match - but a definite turning point.

It gave the Panthers heart - after an indifferent start - and they returned to Warriors' territory soon afterwards, with Soward slotting a penalty goal.

From the next kick off the gusting wind took Johnson's kickoff beyond the deadball line, and Penrith were gifted great field position again.

Tyrone Peachey scored moments later and Penrith had banked vital points, in a game where points scored running into the wind where always going to count for more.

"We scored that [first] try then let them back in it with a soft one," lamented Johnson.

"We talk about composure and building pressure and we weren't able to do that [last] night. [Then] we started the second half off with a repeat set but again it was [lack of] composure, leading into errors."

- NZ Herald

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