Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson may have produced the match-winning try in Saturday's golden point NRL win over Penrith but it wasn't enough to impress Australian commentator Brad Fittler.

Speaking on The Sunday Footy Show together with fellow former Kangaroos greats Darren Lockyer and Andrew Johns, Fittler described Johnson's effort to evade four Penrith defenders in a stepping run to the line as "incredible" before suggesting the Warriors No 7 could do more to help his side by running the football more often.

The former NSW captain and two-time NRL premiership winner implied Johnson was reluctant to run the ball to the defensive line and risk being tackled and that he was comfortable passing the ball before contact.

Responding to Johns' question as to what message would he give the Kiwis test halfback before a game, Fittler said he would like to see Johnson make an effort to get his jersey dirty.


"I remember when I was a kid, about 8 years old, all the coach ever said (was) you've got to go out and get your jersey dirty," Fittler began.

"He needs to get his jersey dirty sometimes. I think sometimes he plays off the line a lot.

"If he comes off with a dirty jersey I reckon they'd win a lot."

Fittler's assessment ignores the fact Johnson played a dominant role in guiding his side from his place on the right edge, where he kicked effectively to keep Penrith trapped in their own territory for much of the game.

In wet conditions at Mt Smart Stadium, the 25-year-old repeatedly turned the visitors around with kicks along the ground proving difficult to handle for the Panthers' back-three of fullback Matt Moylan and wingers Josh Mansour and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, and earning his side five line dropouts.

Channel Nine league commentator and former NSW and Kangaroos captain Brad Fittler. Photo / Getty Images.
Channel Nine league commentator and former NSW and Kangaroos captain Brad Fittler. Photo / Getty Images.

Lockyer agreed with Johns that the strongest aspect of Johnson's play was his lethal running game and said he should be encouraged to play off the cuff at any stage of the game including golden point extra time.

While most team's playmakers would look to guide their team into position to set up for a field goal in extra time, the former Brisbane and Queensland fullback and five-eighth said Johnson needed to be allowed free licence to run the ball if he spots an opportunity.

"He's so dynamic when he does run but he was quoted after the game, (saying) he didn't want to overplay things in that golden point," said Lockyer.

"He just needed to play what was in front of him.

"When you've got the ball, do your job, get the team around the park but if there's an opportunity to run, run."