TODAY |

Shaun Johnson finding form at Sharks, leads NRL in try-assists so far this season

Cronulla halfback Shaun Johnson has copped his fair share of criticism since arriving at the club last season but is now leading the NRL in try-assists for 2020.

After laying on two tries in Sunday's 40-22 demolition of Manly in Gosford, the Kiwi half has now clocked up 10 try-assists in seven games - the most in the competition.

Johnson was widely lambasted for his form in 2019 as he struggled to settle into his role at the Sharks while the side was dealing with mass injuries and a lack of cohesion in key positions.

However, coach John Morris said the 29-year-old is learning how to deal with criticism and has improved each week in 2020.

"We always expect so much out of Shaun and rightly so, he's a fantastic player and has shown what he can do but sometimes we expect that every time he touches the ball," Morris said on Sunday.

"But if you look at his stats, compared to other halves in the NRL, he's right up there as far as running the ball, engaging the line, he's leading the NRL in try assists, his defence has been rock solid this year.

"There's so much of Shaun Johnson's game that is certainly appreciated by us and what he does."

To start this season Morris has battled to get his first-choice spine on the field with Matt Moylan and Chad Townsend both missing games through injury.

However, a more settled squad has given the Sharks back-to-back wins for the first time with more improvement expected.

"If you speak to those boys individually they'll tell you themselves, they're nowhere near where they want to be," Morris said.

"But as long as we keep taking steps forward.

"At the start of the year there was a bit of heat on Shaun and Chad but they were still working really hard on their game and I was still seeing some improvements in their game each week.

"They just kept their head down and kept working hard and they've had some good improvements over the last fortnight."