David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson hopes to be fully fit to play Manly in Perth

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson hopes to fully overcome his quad injury over next week's bye round. Photo / Getty Images.
Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson hopes to fully overcome his quad injury over next week's bye round. Photo / Getty Images.

After struggling with a leg injury over the past three weeks, Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson hopes to be back to full fitness in time for their long-haul trip to Perth to play Manly in a fortnight.

Coming off Saturday's crucial 27-18 win over the Gold Coast, the battered and bruised Warriors will enjoy a well-earned break through next week's bye round before looking to consolidate their position in the NRL top eight through the final eight rounds of the regular season.

Johnson suffered a quad injury while goal-kicking in the round 14 win over Newcastle and has hardly trained in the lead-up to their last three matches, with the club's medical staff nursing him through to game day each week and hooker Issac Luke handling shots at goal.

The injury has also hampered his kicking in general play but despite hobbling around the park he has still managed to find the speed, strength and skill to score brilliant individual tries to get his side home against the Roosters and Titans.

And after improving their win-loss record from four-seven to eight-eight over the past five weeks, Johnson hopes he'll be firing on all cylinders when the Warriors meet the Sea Eagles at nib Stadium in Perth on July 16.

"It's fine," Johnson said of the niggling injury.

"I've had a few light weeks so just wanted to make it to the games and I've been able to do that, so I'll get it right over this week with the bye and it should be fine by the time we play again.

"I want to get back into kicking. Tonight there were times when I probably ran because I couldn't really kick so (I'm) definitely wanting that back.

"If I manage it right this week there should be no reason why next week, leading into that (Manly) game away, to get back into all of that stuff."

The Warriors mid-season revival has come at a physical cost and coach Andrew McFadden was also pleased his side will enjoy a well-timed rest before preparing for their run home.

"We've had four wins and a golden point loss so it's been a really good consistent run for us," said McFadden.

"Each game's been different and we've competed and played really well. We just need to use the bye now to freshen up.

"There are some guys that have been battling and we've had some really tough games of late so it's timely for us and we've got to refocus for that last eight weeks."

After back-to-back away games in Western Australia and Canberra the Warriors return to Auckland for a home game against Penrith in round 21, ahead of a re-match with the Titans on the Gold Coast, before hosting South Sydney back at Mt Smart Stadium.

The round 24 trip to Townsville to face reigning premiers North Queensland is undoubtedly their toughest assignment, but the final fortnight sees them camped at home for games against Wests Tigers and Parramatta.

Veteran wing Manu Vatuvei should be fit to play against the Sea Eagles after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, as will captain Ryan Hoffman, who was a late withdrawal from the Titans match due to a virus.

Warriors' run home

Round 19 v Sea Eagles, nib Stadium, Perth, Saturday, July 16

Round 20 v Raiders, GIO Stadium, Saturday, July 23

Round 21 v Panthers, Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, July 30

Round 22 v Titans, Cbus Super Stadium, Sunday, August 7

Round 23 v Rabbitohs, Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday, August 13

Round 24 v Cowboys, 1300SMILES Stadium, Saturday, August 20

Round 25 v Tigers, Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday, August 28

Round 26 v Eels, Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday, September 4

NRL FINALS

Week 1 September 9-11 | Qualifying Semi Finals

Week 2 September 16-17 | Semi Finals

Week 3 September 23-24 | Preliminary Finals

Week 4 October 2 | Grand Final

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