NRL Rd 9 - Sharks v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Shaun Johnson of the Sharks looks to pass the ball during the round nine NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Cronulla star Shaun Johnson has been officially ruled out of the 2021 season.

Sustaining a hamstring injury during Cronulla's Round 19 loss to the Bulldogs where he only lasted 34 minutes, scans have revealed a serious enough injury which will see Johnson miss the remainder of the season.

It was initially hoped that Johnson would return for the final push to the finals after he avoided surgery, but Ben Hannay confirmed the bad news for Sharks' fans on Friday.

With Johnson set to join the Warriors in 2022, it means his time at the Sharks has come to an abrupt and disappointing close.

A star signing from the Warriors ahead of the 2019 season, his stint at the Sharks hasn't arisen to great heights with a pair of seventh-placed finishes.

Two finals appearances and having his side in the running for another this season will be how he leaves Cronulla, with hopes he might be able to inspire the Warriors to greater things next season.

Johnson's time in the Shire has also been littered by injuries, playing 18 games in 2019, 16 in 2020 and 10 in 2021. With other first-choice spine members, Matt Moylan in particular, spending plenty of time on the sidelines, it has made it near-on impossible for Cronulla to build to their promised potential.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Matt Moylan of the Sharks leaves the field after been replaced during the round 22 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Shark Park on August 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The 30-year-old veteran of 205 games has re-joined the Warriors on a two-year deal ahead of the 2022 season, and will likely team up with Kodi Nikorima or Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves next season, while a combination with the similarly elusive Reece Walsh could turn the Warriors fortunes around, as could playing off offloading front rowers Matt Lodge and Addin Fonua-Blake.

Cronulla's 2021 season will now hinge on Braydon Trindall and Connor Tracey, as well as Matt Moylan in the halves, with the team still in the running to play finals footy.


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