Former Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson is poised to sign for the Cronulla Sharks on a three-year deal by the end of the week, according to veteran NRL journalist Phil Rothfield.
Having been released from the final year of his contract with the Warriors earlier this week, Johnson appears certain to take his services across the Tasman, with the Sharks seeming to have landed the star halfback's signature.
It was reported yesterday that Johnson would only sign a one-year deal with Cronulla, before joining the Sydney Roosters in 2020 to replace Cooper Cronk.
However, talking to Radio Sport this morning, Rothfield says that the Sharks are only willing to tie Johnson down to a multi-year deal, rather than be used as a stepping stone.
"He's heading to Cronulla, a great signing for the club," Rothefield began.
"I know him and his agent were originally keen on only doing a one-year deal to see how he settles in, but there's a feeling at Cronulla that the club is not going to be used as a transit lounge that would open the door for a club like the Sydney Roosters to grab him in 2020."
Rothfield also says that Johnson's departure from the Warriors is a sad ending to the halfback's eight year spell with the club, having come through the club's youth system before becoming one of the game's most revered playmakers.
"It's a bit of a shame for the game."
"He is the most popular rugby league player in New Zealand beyond doubt with that enormous social media following.
"I think Shaun Johnson plays five or six [nine out of 10] games every year, but I don't think he turns up every week."