Cronulla Sharks star Shaun Johnson has revealed he has no plans to “slow down any time soon,” although he admitted he might need to polish his game after a Rupture of the Achilles tendon.
Johnson, 30, saw his 2020 campaign halted due to an Achilles injury sustained in the 19th inning in a season that saw him move closer to being Dally M.
New Zealand international receives Porter Gallen player of the year medal in Cronulla, while finishing tied for first in the NRL on trial, assists the standings with 23 to his name despite appearing in just 16 games for the interrupted season.
Opening up about his recovery from a torn Achilles, which can usually take over nine months to return, Johnson revealed his recovery has gone well as he keeps a mid-season return date in mind .
“The recovery is going well. It’s an injury that heals quite slowly. It feels good, but I haven’t done anything to push it yet. I haven’t run yet, but so far everything is fine.” Johnson told Wide World of Sports.
“I just listen to the physio and the surgeon, and their dates are like this kind of [Round 8- 10] chronology.
“This is what I’m working for, if things are going well we will move forward a bit, but if things go wrong we will lower it a bit. I don’t put too much pressure on myself trying to rush it. , just for the sake of coming back to the deadline given to me.
“I’m going to make sure I feel fit and strong enough before I hit the pitch.
“I’m not doing anything on the pitch, I’m not there yet.
“All of my work is in the gym. I feel like I’ve done a million calf lifts. All of my fitness is in what we call the ‘bedroom’ – a little room that has quad bikes, rowers, ellipticals, and SkiErgs. ”
Johnson tackles Moses
Crowned the Golden Boot winner in 2014 as the world’s best international player, Johnson has established himself throughout his career as one of the NRL’s most entertaining playmakers thanks to his astute footwork , his speed and his ability to run with the ball and create for others.
While the former New Zealand warrior has said he is confident he can overcome his latest setback and come back “just better and better,” Johnson admitted he might need to adapt and polish his style. game to play again at an elite level in the NRL.
“Yes I am [confident I can get back to last year’s form],” he added.
“The more I think about it, it’s not so much to come back to it [form], this is where I’m going.
“I felt like there were many areas of my game that I was proud of, but there are also areas where I know I can be better.
“I’m not looking to come back and be former Shaun Johnson, I know my game will probably be a little different from now on – my injury might not allow me to do some of the things I want to do.
“I might have to make some adaptations, I’m not sure but that doesn’t mean I can’t come back better and stronger.
“I’m not looking to slow down anytime soon.”
When asked how he can continue to improve and find ways to improve, Johnson said his biggest concern is focusing on regular jogging week after week.
“Consistency is the big part of my game, which I thought about a lot and use tools to help me stay on course – not fluctuating too high or too low below a performance line. “, he added.
“This is something that I will continue to work on.
“I’m not entirely happy with timing this, but I definitely see it as a tool that will help me play more games at a higher level.
“This is the only area in which I will be interested in order to continue working more [for season 2021]. “
What remains to be seen now is where Johnson will place himself once he makes a full recovery with his other playmaker Matt Moylan looking to regain his form.
Like Johnson, who played the majority of the 2020 season at No.6 with Chad Townsend taking on the half-back, Moylan is also looking for a spot in the Cronulla halves and has spent his off-season training in the same position as the star of the Kiwis.
“My entire preseason – I trained at No.6 and enjoyed that,” he also told Wide World of Sports..
“Saying that, Shaun had a good year last year – he will obviously come back from an injury.
“Whatever happens on the track, my goal is just to be ready to play every week.
“I haven’t been able to do this for a few years and that’s my goal and everything behind it is happening. I am confident enough with the work I have done with the coaching staff that I will be in a good position to play each week. “
Moylan, who has only played 19 games in the past two seasons due to a persistent hamstring problem, said his recovery was better than ever.
The former Blues and Test star revealed this time around that he has changed his approach to training and is confident he’s done the job to get him in the best possible shape for this season.
How Moylan plans to extend his career
“Its been good [the body]”Moylan said.
“Disappointing these last two years not to be able to chain the foots and to control them [injuries] – but I feel like I have this off season.
“I’ve been able to do a lot of training this preseason and it’s been good. The body feels great and if I can continue to build on it that will help me tackle this season.
“It’s just frustrating [the injury battle].
“I felt like I kept working to get there, but I didn’t know what I needed to do and how much work it was probably to get there.
“I had to try a few different things in terms of changing training this offseason and doing it differently and getting back into better shape.”
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