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

Warriors vs Sharks: How Shaun Johnson inspired the great escape

Shaun Johnson of the Warriors runs with the ball during the round 10 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors runs with the ball during the round 10 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

As the Warriors prepare to face the high flying Sharks tonight, Michael Burgess talks with Shaun Johnson about one of the most memorable moments from the 2015 Warriors season.

Anyone who was watching it will never forget it. The Warriors have had a long history of improbable wins and late comebacks but their on the hooter victory against Cronulla last year was one of the best.

As Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss exclaimed at the time, "This is ridiculous. This is fifteen out of 10 on the incredible meter."

It was round nine of the 2015 season. The Warriors, seeking their fourth win of the season, looked dead and buried with 90 seconds to play. The Sharks led 16-14 and had possession deep inside the Warriors half. On the fifth tackle Jeff Robson lined up a kick, looking for touch to wind down the clock.

But he was a fraction too slow on the kick process, and Ryan Hoffman managed a brilliant charge down and regather. He ran into the Sharks half, before being brought down by Ben Barba on the 30 metre line. On the next play the ball found its way to Johnson - standing four passes wide of the ruck - who cut back inside and beat six defenders on his way to the try line.

"Ryan [Hoffman] gave us the chance with a massive play to charge down," recalled Johnson. "After that it's easy to gravitate towards the ball but I hung out a few passes wide. I didn't want to go to the ball - I wanted the ball to come to me. When people are chasing back they tend to go towards the ball so if you hang wide there is going to be space somewhere."

"The ball came my way but where I thought the space was going to be it wasn't as they rushed to that side. So I cut back off my right foot, ran along the line and found a hole and went over."

"I want to be a player that steps up in big moments. I've been able to do that a couple of times in my career and that was one of them."

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