Shaun Johnson is making up for lost time.

The Warriors' halfback doesn't want to put limits on what he can achieve, but admits his confidence is sky high at the moment.

As one of only two players who has endured the entirety of the Warriors' finals drought, Johnson appreciates more than most what Friday night's result means.

And he appears to be hitting top form at just the right time, which will only add to the warm glow for league fans around the country.


Not only did they watch the Warriors seal a top eight place with a bombastic 36-16 victory over Penrith, but they also saw their marquee man deliver a marquee display.

It's significant.

On Friday night Johnson brought the magic, but also the muscle and the management.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season, and this performance was another exclamation mark.

And the good news?

Johnson believes there is more to come.

"I definitely think I am getting there," said Johnson, when asked if he was reaching his peak this season. "I don't think I have got a peak ... but I just keep climbing, keep working. There are always things you can work on."

Off the back of a dominant pack, Johnson wreaked havoc on Friday night with his running game.

Warriors players Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a celebrate in the dressing room after making the NRL finals. Photo / Photosport
Warriors players Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a celebrate in the dressing room after making the NRL finals. Photo / Photosport

He made slashing breaks that led to two of David Fusitu'a's tries and had the Panthers defence on edge whenever he touched the ball.

"I needed to take the line on a bit so I was able to do that," said Johnson, who carried for more than 100 metres. "If I am doing that, then I am feeing pretty good about things.

"[But] our middles gave me that platform to do it. Late offloads, quick play the balls down short sides…the result of me running is from that so I can't put enough on the team and the way that they played."

Johnson's involvement also caught the eye.

Often criticized for drifting out of games, he was a constant on Friday. He kicked well (aside from a spell at the end of the first half), executed plays superbly and defended strongly (20 tackles), as part of a solid right edge.

"I thought that was Shaun's best performance of the year," said coach Stephen Kearney. "What pleased me most about it was the way that he defended.

"They are not an easy side on that side, with [Viliame] Kikau and [Waqa] Blake. They put anyone under pressure but I thought they did really well."

Johnson has reached a new level in consistency in 2018.

He's always had ups and downs, but much less this year.

That's partly due to a better, more stable team around him, particularly with the influence of Tohu Harris and Blake Green and partly to a realisation that careers don't last forever.

Johnson was clearly emotional after the match, knowing that step one on the journey has been achieved.

"You could feel it walking into the tunnel," said Johnson. "The same people that have sat above this tunnel here and clapped us in, win or lose. Bloody hell, it was a nice moment."

"It's everyone involved, people that have been here a long time, staff that have been here a long time, there is so much that goes into a season, our fans, our members. It's a really exciting time for the club."