David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Shaun Johnson: We're not getting ahead of ourselves

Shaun Johnson of the Warriors in action in the NZ Warriors v Melbourne Storm NRL rugby league match at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors in action in the NZ Warriors v Melbourne Storm NRL rugby league match at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

The Warriors lethal right-edge attack has been on-song but halfback Shaun Johnson downplayed their intentions to target the Sydney Roosters struggling left-side in Sunday's NRL clash at Mt Smart Stadium.

Johnson has been at the forefront of the Warriors midseason revival, with his right-side combinations with back-rower Bodene Thompson and centre Blake Ayshford wreaking havoc in back-to-back wins over Brisbane and Newcastle.

Wing David Fusitu'a has been the chief beneficiary, scoring two tries against the Broncos and adding four more in last week's demolition of the Knights, while Thompson also crossed the chalk in each outing.

The Roosters will be well aware of the dangers posed by the home side and desperate to shore up their left-side defence that allowed Melbourne to run in five four-pointers in last week's embarrassing 46-0 defeat.

The Tricolours fledging left-side is sorely missing the contribution of injured NSW State of Origin back-rower Boyd Cordner, and fill-in five-eighth Ryan Matterson, centre Dale Copley and debutant wing Joseph Manu are sure to come under scrutiny this weekend.

Johnson acknowledged the Roosters struggles against the Storm, but tried to mask his own side's attacking intentions as they eye a third straight win.

"I won't say, just in case one of them is watching, but for us it's about playing with our eyes forward," said Johnson.

"The Storm got them down the Roosters' left-edge but who knows if that will be the case this week.

"It's about playing with our eyes forward. If it's down there we'll take it, if it's not then we'll go to where we think we can get the most joy."

While Johnson's edge has been earning deserved praise, the 25-year-old said the work of their left-side counterparts and big men in the middle of the park, was crucial to their attacking structures.

"They've done an awesome job with making the rest of the team's job a bit easier," he said.

"The left-edge, they laid the platform. They had to give us the ruck-speed and the middles fell into shape and we executed down our edge.

"It goes hand in hand. It all starts there. You take away the opposition forward pack and it gives yourself more time with the ball so credit to them."

The Warriors will miss the impact of in-form front-rower Jacob Lillyman, who was called into the Queensland side ahead of next Wednesday's second State of Origin match in Brisbane, and the onus is senior prop Ben Matulino to lead the pack after coming off the bench in the last two outings.

Young tyro Albert Vete has helped set the tone with aggressive running and tackling over the last fortnight, and bench trio Sam Lisone, Charlie Gubb and 21-year-old Toafofoa Sipley - in his second first grade appearance - will need to maintain those standards.

The Roosters might be second from the bottom of the NRL ladder with just three wins for the season so far, but the Warriors know they face a strong challenge.

"Everyone knows they're a much better side than where they sit on the table," said Johnson.

"They've been minor premiers the last three years so they're a quality side and we're going to treat them that way.

"We're certainly not getting ahead of ourselves and looking forward to another challenge."

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