Thursday, February 16, 2012

After a stellar rookie year, some stagnate into a vortex of expectation.

Then the second year blues set in.

Though, not for Shaun Johnson, we hope.

He has long since made his acquaintance with supreme talent. One could suppose that there could never be any reason for him to feel sad. After all, the twenty-one year old whizz kid is blessed with such a vast array of talent that bedazzles even the most ardent of critics.

The dreaded second year syndrome, surely this will not abound in his sphere of being.

Maybe it will, maybe it won’t – for now, we don’t know.

But the day is nigh, the day to soar, to aim high, bid for the sky, reach for the stars; to dutifully attend to embellishing further on what you already are – a star.

Dream long, dream hard, dream big – dream for all you’re worth; but, just do it.

This is exactly what he is doing. Having gained his opportunity midway through the 2011 season after the incumbent, Brett Seymour, relented to injury, Johnson hasn’t looked back. He has made every post a winner. Such was the success of his opening forays into the NRL, Warriors management moved with haste to re-sign the emerging superstar.

This they successfully did.

With a three year contract signed that sees him plying his trade in Auckland until the end of 2014, Johnson is hardly one that resembles a malady of cash strapped despair. With the paper work all sorted, there is no need to concern himself with money – only with improving his game.

For opportunities abound from lands afar.

And with Johnson, that usually means endless reasons to visit an opposition’s in-goal zone. He doesn’t just go on short trips, either. For there are plenty of long range tries scored that are his par.

That’s what one can do with speed. And he has it in bountiful measures; speed that sears with intensity; speed that seethes with unadmonished glee; and speed that strikes a dagger into the defensive heart of his foe, leaving them looking like a talentless cask of blandness sinking into a downtrodden quagmire of desperation and despondency while he continues on his way with a riotous riposte of rip-roaring attacking ingenuity.

It’s not fair is it? That one person can be so blessed with talent, that it mocks the rest of us into insecurity. Though, it’s one thing to be one of the lucky ones; it’s another to be able to take that talent through to its true destiny. But one gets the impression that the level headed Johnson has as much chance as any of achieving the ultimate.

You may be getting the impression, by now, that he’s solely an attacking player.

Not so, at all. Nothing could not be further from the truth.

He is the proprietor of a more than adequate long kicking game. If he can’t extricate his side from their own red zone with one of his specials, he can be counted on to generate a sixty metre clearance.

His short kicking game is regularly on hand to heap pressure on the opposition by forcing them into repeat goal line drop-outs. And, of course, there is his defence. Yes, that thing that his detractors proposed as the reason to hold him back for now. They said he would be targeted, and that he would be responsible for conceding more points in defence than he is worth in attack. If they had had their way, he wouldn’t have been there to orchestrate that remarkable winning play against Melbourne in the dying minutes of the grand final qualifier.

Well, those naysayers couldn’t have been more wrong. And thankfully so. In reality, his defence was solid and no more a hindrance than that of any other halfback in the competition.

So, even though he regularly appears to resemble a constant stream of unerring attacking notions transcending the corridors of the Rugby League’s attacking fraternity, which display a cautionary tale to the maligment forces that circle in eager anticipation, he sends those defensive frailties headlong into a cavass of the unending, deep dark recesses without so much as a glimmer of hope shining through the black hole that has sucked the life from them, not even spasmodically allowing them to escape the ravages of the dark menacing attacking force that Johnson is the keen perpetrator of - there is more to this potential Rugby League megastar.

Many said that the great Stacey Jones could never be replaced. Not only does Johnson have the potential to match the deeds of Jones, he could very well surpass them in a canter.

He really could be anything.

If he dreams long, dreams hard, dreams big – dreams for all he is worth; and, just does it.

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