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'Are we the home team?' - Shaun Johnson laughs off suggestion of advantage against Tonga

Kiwis star half Shaun Johnson has laughed off the suggestion that his team will have any sort of home advantage against Mate Ma’a Tonga when they face off at Mount Smart on Saturday in Auckland.

The last time the two side's played, Tonga defeated the Kiwis 28-22 in Hamilton during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Johnson, 28, said it will be a strange feeling going up against a current NRL club teammate.

"Are we the home team? Andrew Fifita [is] obviously playing for Tonga, I have become quite close with over in Cronulla," said Johnson.

"I said to him it is actually going to feel like 'we are playing ya in Tonga'.

"And that is what it did feel like in the World Cup a couple years back. We know what it is about and know what it is going to be like.

"It's definitely a challenge we are all looking forward to."

Johnson will also be lining up with a familiar face in training - Benji Marshall.

The Sharks half made his international debut for the Kiwis alongside Marshall when he was 20 years old.

"Definitely happy that we get to see him again in a black jersey," Johnson said. "The way he has played this year, at the start of the year, it is definitely warranted.

"I'm really looking forward to it."

Marshall's last game in a Kiwis jumper was in 2012.

"One thing I do remember about my debut is that he [Marshall] made me feel real comfortable," Johnson said. "The fact that he has been able to come back in - I am probably in a similar position that he was in back then."

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The Sharks half is expecting a sea of red at Mt Smart this weekend when his side takes on Tonga. Source: 1 NEWS


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