David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Shaun Johnson wrestling with injury ahead of dead rubber

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson continues to be troubled by a quad strain but is determined to play in Sunday's dead rubber clash against Parramatta as they look to finish the year with a win after three straight defeats.

Johnson has struggled since injuring his right leg while kicking in the Warriors win over the Knights in Newcastle on June 11 and he was often unable to train with teammates in the lead-up to most of the side's last 10 games.

The round 18 bye allowed the 26-year-old some respite but despite a reduced workload the problem continued to hamper him and flared up badly following the recent loss to the Cowboys in Townsville.

He came close to sitting out several matches including last week's devastating loss to Wests Tigers that ended their finals hopes.

Johnson is hopeful of having a better preparation this week as they look to put an end to a three-game losing run and finish the year with a win at Mt Smart Stadium.

"Last week it was really bad," said Johnson.

"I was close to not playing but the physios did a great job, as they have done all year, in getting me ready for a game.

"It's feeling a bit better this week so hopefully I can actually train with the boys which would be nice.

"I'll be good to go this weekend."

The injury has mostly affected Johnson's ability to kick and also reduced his speed off the mark while he was also forced to hand the goal-kicking duties over to hooker Issac Luke and utility back Tui Lolohea.

Johnson has been troubled by a quad strain in his right leg since the Warriors round 14 win over Newcastle. Photo / Dean Purcell NZ Herald.
Johnson has been troubled by a quad strain in his right leg since the Warriors round 14 win over Newcastle. Photo / Dean Purcell NZ Herald.

At times it appeared to limit his involvement and he came in for stinging criticism from former Australian captain Brad Fittler and ex-Warriors centre Brent Tate for not doing enough for his team.

But despite not being at his best the Kiwis international still managed to score brilliant solo tries to help secure wins over the Roosters, Titans, Panthers, and leading into the Cowboys clash led the competition in forced line dropouts.

After returning from a broken ankle that cruelly ended his 2015 season it is remarkable he is the only Warriors player to appear in all 24 games this season.

That comes as little consolation with his side missing the top eight for a fifth straight year but Johnson is confident he can return to full fitness ahead of the Kiwis Four Nations defence in November.

"I'll have enough time after the season to get that part right before we start thinking about the Kiwis," he said.

"I'm very happy with where I've come from and the progress I've made this year.

"I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. But to play all 24 games from where I was, I guess that is an achievement."

Johnson is frustrated that poor defence and individual lapses let the Warriors down to overshadow periods of consistent football they managed to string together.

"We leaked too many easy points and soft tries. At crucial times we make simple mistakes which lead to the outcomes that we've been having."

Johnson sits just eight points shy of beating Stacey Jones' club record of 674 points but says his priority this week is ensuring the side ends their campaign on a positive.

"I just want to go out and win a game and I don't care how many points I score to do it.

"Obviously this week it's important for us, we have to perform well so the eight points can wait."

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