Shaun Johnson to provide Cronulla Sharks x-factor

Fresh face: Sharks five-eighth Shaun Johnson. Picture: John Veage
Fresh face: Sharks five-eighth Shaun Johnson. Picture: John Veage

John Morris was still assistant coach at Cronulla when Valentine Holmes departed the club to chase a career in the NFL late last year.

"I'm excited for the opportunity Val got but at the same time I was thinking 'far out, what are we going to do here?' And then Shaun's name came up."

The signing of New Zealand international Shaun Johnson significantly softened the blow of losing Holmes for Morris and the Sharks.

While Johnson won't be a like for like replacement at fullback, the 28-year-old's acquisition has allowed Matt Moylan to revert to his more natural position wearing the No.1 jersey.

The inclusion of a player with the star power of Johnson has Morris excited to embark on his NRL career as a head coach with one of the game's most unpredictable attacking weapons in his arsenal.

"It was a big get... I was pushing really hard to get him, even though I was assistant [coach]," Morris said. 

"I said we've got to grab him. He gives us great balance, he brings in that x-factor that we lost with Val. And Matty his most natural position is probably fullback anyway. So it's a great fit.

"I'm really excited to have him. He's been super impressive, he's got a real good attitude, he's really coachable. He's helping the young halves. I'm looking forward to him pulling on a Sharks jumper."