19 Apr 2012

Jones warns Johnson to prepare to defend in Anzac Test

5:47 am on 19 April 2012

The 'Godfather' of New Zealand halfbacks claims debutant Shaun Johnson has all the tools to be a Kiwi great - but is warning him to prepare for a brutal initiation to test rugby league on Friday night.

With just 23 NRL games under his belt, Johnson's ascension to the New Zealand side for the Eden Park clash against Australia has come quicker than expected, but it was one that was always a matter of when, and not if, according to former skipper Stacey Jones.

There is plenty of interest in how Johnson will combine with the equally fleet-footed and free-spirited Marshall, but Jones says it's at the other end of the pitch that the 21-year-old will face his toughest challenge.

Australia will be sure to send plenty of traffic his way on the edge of the Kiwi defence, and there will be no place to hide either.

On one wide side, he would be giving up 22kg to Sam Thaiday, while the other is even scarier with 34kg separating Johnson's frame with that of Kangaroos debutant David Taylor.