New Zealand Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson says he is overwhelmed by the support his side has received from fans since touching down in Perth earlier this week ahead of their NRL Round 1 clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“It kind of felt like we were at home,” the 27-year-old said.
“We’ve been received really well so far. Hopefully we can reward them with a good performance on Saturday.”
Johnson, speaking during a team signing session at a Fremantle Roosters junior clinic says he has high expectations for the Warriors in 2018 despite not making the finals since 2011.
“We’ve got expectations of ourselves, and to know that we’re getting really close to showing that, it’s exciting.”
The Kiwi International, who debuted for the Warriors in 2011 will line up in the halves alongside new signing Blake Green who arrives from the Manly Sea Eagles on a three-year deal.
Green will look to add some stability to the Warriors five-eight role having seen Kieran Foran and Ata Hingano fail to make the No.6 jersey their own in 2017.
New Zealand’s only NRL side have found life difficult in WA, losing their nine previous games dating back to 1996, including a 26-22 loss to Manly last year.
“We don’t read too much into it,” Warriors Coach Stephen Kearney said to media this week.
If the Warriors are to snap their Perth hoodoo, they are going to need Johnson, a former World Rugby League Player of the Year, at the top of his game.