Cleary targets Shaun Johnson

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Cleary targets Shaun Johnson

Postby Northern_Union » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:20 pm ... rt-5522826

Is Shaun Johnson set to leave the NZ Warriors for west Sydney at the end of next year?

It's the biggest contractual concern for the Auckland based side with the 22-year old's contract expiring at the end of 2014 and at least one New South Wales club ready to break the bank to secure the NRL's hottest halfback.

ONE News understands former head coach Ivan Cleary and club boss Phil Gould are desperate to lure Johnson to the Penrith Panthers.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph reports the Panthers are considering offering Johnson $NZ2.2m over three years to head across the Tasman.

While Johnson would prefer to stay with the Warriors, the Panthers offer equates to three times his current salary, making him one of the highest paid players in the NRL, a deal which may be hard to refuse.

The Warriors number six has been in sparkling form during the side's current hot streak, in which they've won seven of eight matches including victories over NRL premiership favourites Manly, the Roosters and Melbourne this past Sunday.

With big money England star Sam Tomkins already on the books for 2014 and beyond, finding space for Johnson under the NRL salary cap will be a major challenge for the club.

There would be plenty of familiar faces of Johnson at the Panthers with former under-20 teammate Issac John and ex-Warriors Lewis Brown and Jeremy Lattimore having already followed Cleary to Penrith. In addition, Warriors second row star Elijah Taylor, also a teammate of Johnson's down the grades, has signed with the Panthers for next season.

Shaun Johnson discussed the Penrith interest with ONE News this afternoon, and his response may some surprise some fans. See what he had to say about the bid on ONE News at 6pm tonight.
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