Kiwis halfback Shaun Johnson has acknowledged his playmaking and kicking woes in Saturday's defeat to Australia in Perth but remains confident the side will improve throughout the Four Nations.

Johnson admitted the Kiwis attack lacked cohesion during the 26-6 loss at Nib Stadium but believes they will be better prepared when they open their title defence against hosts England at Huddersfield on October 30 (NZT).

The 26-year-old realises he could better communicate to teammates his intentions to either kick or run the ball and said along with hooker Issac Luke and five-eighth Thomas Leuluai they could provide more options and greater variety on the last tackle.

"I was probably on a different page to the people outside me," Johnson told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave. "It's about us working together and getting on the same page with that.

Advertisement

"I was chipping it up to the corners and they were good kicks. Other times I felt like we needed to run it to keep them a bit more honest. Then you'd see the breakdown where I did run it and it resulted in nothing.

"I've just got to get the balance right and when I do decide to run it on the last we've got to have that coordination around it. It can't just be 'run and hope'."

Despite making 34 tackles and setting up the Kiwis only try to Kevin Proctor, Johnson has been roundly criticised after making just three runs and being unable to build pressure on the Kangaroos off the boot.

The Warriors playmaker denied his performance was hampered due to a lack of go-forward from the Kiwis pack and admitted he needed to make an impact regardless of whether the forwards were gaining momentum.

"Our forwards weren't able to do as well as they wanted to but I can't hold them as a reason if I underperform or not," he said. "I still can contribute in a good way on the back of not much go-forward. I should be able to do that."

Leuluai had sympathy for Johnson and was quick to put his hand up and share responsibility for the side's ineffective kicking.

"I'm to blame too there," he said. "We rushed our plays and a little bit of that comes down to timing and not playing for a bit but ultimately that blame comes down to me and Shaun.

"We'll take that on board and make sure we improve but the criticism of Shaun, I know it's a hot topic, and I should be shouldering a lot of that too."

Johnson says the Kiwis need to match the Kangaroos, who utilised three kickers in halves Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and hooker Cameron Smith, to help reduce the pressure on him to get the ball downfield.

"They were kicking one off the ruck. They had options both sides so that's where we've got to get to. We've also got Issac there that can kick and I've just got to come up with something a little better than hoofing it down the middle.

"It's a collective thing. I don't think you can point the finger at one person. A lot of people are probably pointing at my direction but collectively as a whole spine we can certainly be better.

"It's a learning curve. We'll certainly work on it throughout the four weeks while we're up in the UK and I'm sure we'll be better."