New Zealand Warriors have released superstar Shaun Johnson with immediate effect.
Warriors’ chief executive Cameron George has confirmed that the New Zealand international has been granted a release from the last year of his contract in 2019.
Johnson has only ever played for the Warriors, scoring 63 tries and kicking 326 goals in 162 appearances.
“Yesterday Stephen Kearney [head coach], Peter O’Sullivan [recruitment manager] and I met with Shaun and his manager Peter Brown,” George said.
“During the meeting, Shaun clearly demonstrated to us that he didn’t want to be at the club in 2019.
“On the basis of what Shaun told us, we are not going to compromise our culture on and off the field with people who do not wish to represent our club, members and fans in the way we expect.
“Everything we do is about the club being first and what’s best for our future, our development and ultimately our results.
“While it’s disappointing it has come to this, we must acknowledge the contribution Shaun has made to the Vodafone Warriors. We’re proud of what he has achieved at the club and wish him the best for the future.”
On leaving the Warriors, Johnson posted on Instagram: “Maaan where do I start? What a crazy couple of days it’s been.
“To think my time at Mt Smart playing for my hometown team has officially come to an end is one of mixed emotions.. Thank you to the boys and everyone that’s been involved with the Warriors over the past eight years.
“I am really grateful and will never lose sight of how different my life could be if it wasn’t for all of you.
“So much has been said publicly over the past month which hasn’t been ideal but it is what it is. I’ve got nothing bad to say about anyone involved with the club, sometimes things just don’t work out and I know they will be sweet and take things to where we all want them to be.”
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Maaan where do I start? What a crazy couple of days it's been. By now you all know I have been granted a release. (Pics of me signing it) To think my time at Mt Smart playing for my hometown team has officially come to an end is one of mixed emotions.. Thank you to the boys and everyone thats been involved with the Warriors over the past 8 years. I really am grateful and will never loose sight of how different my life could be if it wasnt for all of you. So much has been said publicly over the past month which hasn't been Ideal but is what it is. I've got nothing bad to say about anyone involved with the club, sometimes things just dont work out and I know they will be sweet and take things to where we all want them to be. Those of you that have followed my journey probably still cant believe this is actually happening. I just want to let you know that I'm ok and really looking foward to what's next! I get to go somewhere fresh and take my game to a new level..how good! Thank you for believing and and keeping me strong, we all know it hasn't been a smooth ride but with out your support I wouldn't be who I am. I've loved entertaining, chatting and getting photos with you and if ya stay with me I'll continue to do so ?.. Stay happy fam and thanks for all the positive messages, I'll let ya know what's next once it's all confirmed. No hate, all love as always ??
Although a number of Super League clubs are interested in Johnson, it appears that his salary is too high and is expected to stay in the NRL next year.