Cronulla Sharks have granted Shaun Johnson an early release from his contract so he can return home to New Zealand with his family.
The 30-year-old will return to New Zealand Warriors on a two-year deal from next season, and has been granted an early release by the Sharks so he can return home.
Cronulla say they received the request after Johnson had secured flights home to New Zealand for him and his family and in considering the situation surrounding international travel, the Sharks have granted the request.
Sharks chief executive Dino Mezzatesta said: “We acknowledge and thank Shaun for his three years at the Sharks.
“Shaun was the ultimate professional on the field, the highlight being him winning the Porter Gallen Medal as the Club’s best after an outstanding 2020 season. He was also popular and always engaging with our members, fans and corporate partners in making a significant contribution off the field as well.
“Everybody at the Sharks wishes him a speedy and full recovery from his current injury and all the best for his return to the Warriors in 2022.”
Johnson said: “I can’t thank the club, staff, members and fans enough for the past three seasons.
“I’ve loved every minute in the black, white and blue, suiting up with the boys each week is something I never take for granted and thank them for welcoming me and making Cronulla my home away from home.
“Although it’s not the way I wanted it to finish, I leave with a smile and good relationships.”
Johnson made 44 NRL appearances for the Sharks, scoring six tries and kicking 119 goals while recording 44 assists.
He has won 32 caps for his native New Zealand, scoring 14 tries and has played in two World Cups for the Kiwis. Johnson won the Golden Boot award in 2014.
Johnson became a fan favourite in his first stint with Ne Zealand Warriors, scoring 63 tries and kicking 326 goals in 162 games across eight seasons.