Shaun Johnson is coming home and I'm stoked. The mercurial half has signed up to play for the Warriors. Not to guide them to a title, even the most ardent fan wouldn't think that, just to help guide them to the top eight on a regular basis.
Surely that's not too much to ask? That's all I want, that's all I expect. The weight of expectation has never rested easy on the shoulders of Johnson, so let's not park it on him again. That pressure should be shared across all. It's a team game after all.
The move from the Sharks came as a surprise to many and the serendipitous nature of the signing suggests it wasn't part of a well-constructed master plan to dominate the NRL. It was a stroke of luck, jumped on by the Penrose posse.
Princess, a moniker formerly attached to the one-time golden boot winner, summed him up in his formative days. He could be prickly, defensive and abrupt with the media. He believed his own press, he bought in to the hype and it derailed him.
On good days though, he was a dream to deal with. Upfront, effusive, a man who genuinely loved what he did, a man who loved his fans. I've seen him first hand at Warriors functions go out of his way to engage with everyone, the doting grannies, the adoring children, the raucous blokes.
The presence he brings to the club is immense. The prodigal player's narrative is one the Warriors should run with. He has a star quality that the fans revel in. Shaun 2.0 I'd hope has learnt how to best deal with that and turn it into a constant positive, not a monster on his back.
Johnson is on his way home from his enforced exile. Back with a wife and child. Back with experience of being in a team. Not a member of an exclusive clique, just a rank and file member of the Sharks. A team that hardly set the world on fire but sat in around the eight, a team that didn't put him up on a pedestal. A team that eventually let him go.
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All of this to me should make Johnson a very different character from the one that left Mt Smart. He returns more worldly, more seasoned, better prepared to deal with the triumph and disaster of guiding a one city club.
Early in his career, Johnson was touted as a wonder kid, the club's saviour, the man to lead them to the promised land. He shouldered that burden and the weight never truly allowed him to flourish. This time around, a wiser player, with the scars of a long career in the NRL, should bring a balanced game and attitude to the side. He'll also serve as a wonderful mentor to Reece Walsh, a player with similar expectations placed on him from a young age.
This time around, the expectations aren't as grandiose or foolish. They are well within the remit of a man of his standing in the game.
Take us to the eight, take us there regularly and we'll be happy. From that regular position of strength, who knows what could happen?
I'm happy to welcome an older, wiser Shaun Johnson back in to the fold.