Shaun Johnson of the Warriors.
Shaun Johnson of the Warriors. DAVID ROWLAND

Warriors coach backs under-fire playmaker

WARRIORS coach Stephen Kearney has leapt to the defence of star halfback Shaun Johnson.

The New Zealand outfit has come under fire in the early rounds, having lost its past three games and not scored more than 12 points in each game.

Copping the brunt of the criticism is Johnson, who New South Wales State of Origin coach Laurie Daley said needed a "reality check".

"I try not to pay too much attention to a lot of the outside sources in terms of opinions and critics. If I did that every week I'd be scrambled up," Kearney said ahead of Sunday's clash with the Titans.

"I'm really comfortable with how Shaun's going, I think he's trying really hard. I've seen a real improvement from him so I'm happy."

Playmaker Kieran Foran is set to link with Johnson in his long-awaited Warriors debut if he's cleared of a hamstring injury.

News Corp Australia

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