SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Shaun Johnson of the Sharks passes during the round 15 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on June 30, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Shaun Johnson will use his midseason return as an audition for a contract extension in 2022.

Johnson is expected to return from a horror Achilles injury in Round 10, almost a year out of the game.

At age 30, Johnson is in the latter stages of his career and has already begun to plan for life away from the game.

But that does not mean he will hang up the boots at the end of 2021 and has a desire to play-on 2022, whether it is at the Sharks or another NRL team.

“If I go around, if I sign with another club, if I re-sign here or whatever I do if I play on, it’s a massive month really,” Johnson told Stuff.

“I understand that I’m going to miss the first part of the season so there might be a few people out there bit hesitant to have those chats.

“It’s like I’m auditioning (when I return) but in saying that I can’t let that drive me, I can’t let that be the core focus of what I want to do.

“Whatever happens. Wherever I go, if I stay whatever I do, I know I’ll be OK with it … I’m not sweating bullets about what’s next.”

Johnson has played 196 games for the Sharks and Warriors and represented New Zeland 32 times since debuting in 2011.