Jones excited by Tomkins-Johnson duo

BRAD WALTER
Last updated 03:01 16/02/2014
Fans arrive at Auckland Nines
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ALL DOLLED UP: Fans during day two of the Auckland Nines.
Cowboys win
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The Cowboys celebrate their win over the Broncos in the grand final of the inaugural Auckland Nines.
Sam Tomkins
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
ON THE BREAK: Sam Tomkins makes a break against the Manly Sea Eagles on a perfect day for the Warriors.

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Warriors great Stacey Jones has declared the combination of Sam Tomkins and Shaun Johnson has the potential to set the NRL alight this season after the star duo stole the show in their first outing together at the NRL Nines.

Welcomed to the NRL by a vocal Eden Park crowd, the English superstar left no doubt of the impact he would have for the Warriors by setting up a try with his first touch in the club's colours and putting Kiwis playmaker Johnson over minutes later.

Jones, who has joined the Warriors coaching staff this season, said Tomkins and Johnson would form a deadly combination for the Auckland club if they were able to replicate the form they showed in the Nines.

''It was pretty exciting to watch,'' he said. ''They are going to cause a lot of trouble for other teams this year if they keep going like that.''

With his former Wigan teammates looking on as they prepare for next weekend's World Club Challenge, Tomkins stepped and jinked his way past several Canberra defenders with his first run before offloading to Johnson, who put fellow speedster Glen Fisiiahi over.

Johnson then scored himself after backing up another Tomkins break and standing up Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker.

''I loved playing with him,'' Johnson said. ''It is a lot better than playing against him.''

Tomkins, a member of the England side who had their hearts broken in the World Cup semi-final at Wembley by a last-minute Johnson try, said their combination would only improve as the season went on.

''He is good, he is a talented player,'' Tomkins said. ''He has got good hands and good feet. That goes throughout the team.

''Even though it is only Nines, we showed out there that there are some real quick guys in our team - people like Shaun and Tui [Lolohea] and Fish - so they are going to cause some problems.''

Besides his hand in the opening two tries of the Warriors' 25-14 win, Tomkins showed his speed by racing back to cover a kick and he brought the crowd to their feet when he took a quick tap and chipped over the defence - only to be tackled without the ball.

''It is good to finally get a game out with them, I have been training with them all for a number of weeks now so I am really happy,'' Tomkins said. ''I thought I would be nervous but I wasn't.''

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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