Warriors star Shaun Johnson's injury likely to be season-ending, says club boss
The Warriors expect to be without star halfback Shaun Johnson for their last seven NRL matches of the season.
The 26-year-old left the field with what looked to be a serious knee injury in the second half of the side's 34-22 loss to the Penrith Panthers in Auckland on Friday night.
On Sunday night a Warriors club spokesman said they had "nothing further at this stage" on Johnson's condition.
But club chief executive Jim Doyle was more forthcoming, telling Fox Sports it looked like Johnson's season was over, and he would undergo scans on Monday to confirm an ACL injury.
Teammate Kieran Foran said Johnson was shattered in the locker room after Friday's defeat which left them 11th on the ladder with a tough trip looming to Townsville to face North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday.
"He's not too sure what it is. We've haven't been told exactly what the final outcome is but he was pretty disappointed," Foran said.
"It's hard to take any injury let alone one like that that happens all of a sudden. We're just getting around him and hoping he's going to be OK."
If Johnson's injury is as serious as it appeared, it will be his second major injury in three seasons with his 2015 campaign cut short due to a broken ankle.
But while Johnson's situation remains murky, what is becoming very clear is the uphill battle the Warriors face to crack the top eight.
And that challenge is made even tougher without their oft-criticised but hugely important No 7.
Young Ata Hingano appears the likely replacement for Johnson having already looked solid while covering for Foran.
Tuimoala Lolohea would have been another option had the club not already released him to sign with the Tigers in May.
The Warriors have just seven wins to show from their 17 matches.
That leaves them four points shy of the top eight.
With seven games to go, playing in the Warriors' favour is that four of their opponents are also sitting outside the top eight.
The Raiders and Rabbitohs will be frisky if they can get it right, but the Tigers and Knights have offered little all season.
Those matches are all must wins for the Auckland-based club.
But first the Warriors face the Cowboys and Sharks, who have both been ticking along nicely, in their next two matches.
They also face the Sea Eagles in round 25.
The Warriors will likely be able to drop one or two matches on the road home, but they will need to win most if they want to be involved come playoffs.
THE WARRIORS' RUN HOME
July 22 v Cowboys, away
July 28 v Sharks, home
August 5 v Knights, away
August 13 v Raiders, home
August 21 v Rabbitohs, away
August 27 v Sea Eagles, home
September 3 v Tigers, away