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Johnson plays down sevens switch

By David Skipwith

Published: 6:27PM Thursday August 23, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • Shaun Johnson in action against Cowboys (Source: Photosport)
    Shaun Johnson in action against Cowboys - Source: Photosport

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson has downplayed suggestions he is eager to pursue a career in rugby sevens following today's revelation that his manager had spoken with New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens about the possibility of him making the switch.

Johnson hosed down reports he was looking to play Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games saying his manager Peter Brown had merely replied to an expression of interest from Tietjens.

"At the moment it's just an interest of mine," Johnson told a media throng at the Warriors weekly press session today.

"Gordon Tietjens was trying to get hold of me and some people gave me his number and I didn't want to break any rules or anything so I just gave it straight to my manager and let him do the rest.

"They had a good chat to see if it was possible firstly and that's sort of where it's at."

A long-time fan Sevens spectator and having been engrossed in the London Olympics coverage, Johnson admitted the possibility of participating at the world's greatest sporting event held undoubted appeal but confirmed his focus remains firmly centred on the Warriors, to whom he remains contracted to until the end of 2014.

"Having watched the Olympics of late and seeing all the athletes and just seeing what sort of event and how big it is, it's pretty unreal, and sevens as an individual sport is something I've always enjoyed watching so it's just another challenge.

"It's still a while away so I'll just focus on what I can control here at the club with the Warriors."

Johnson explained he had been inundated with text messages from friends and been subjected to much ribbing from his teammates as talk of a possible departure from league dominated the day's radio talkback and news headlines.

"I've been told and getting texts from my mates saying I'm going to play 15-a-side and ask for an early release and that sort of thing.

"It's not that at all and I don't know where all that stuff came from, to clear that up. It's just an interest and we haven't got that far. I really don't know how it would work or even if it's possible."

Johnson does have a limited rugby union background but it would be stretching things to say he held a burning desire to return to the game.

"I played 1st XV and to be honest I didn't really enjoy it. I like watching the All Blacks and that sort of thing. I like a lot of sports."

Sonny Bill Williams trail-blazing multi-disciplined career was not an incentive but watching the dual-international-turned-boxer's career showed anything was possible.

"No, that wasn't an influence. Obviously watching and seeing what Sonny is doing it gives you a bit of hope that a few players can follow that sort of path and make the most of the opportunities while they have them."

Meanwhile, Johnson said the Warriors were intent on putting an end to a miserable six-game losing streak and giving themselves and their fans something to be proud of when they meet the Dragons on Saturday night.

"We're excited and with the end of the season coming up we want to finish on a good note and there's no better way to do it then to get a win over in Sydney where we've struggled in the past."