Titans back-rower Kevin Proctor has warned his Titans teammates not to allow Shaun Johnson into the game as the Kiwi half endeavours to make a good first impression in his home debut for the Sharks on Saturday.
Proctor and Johnson were teammates on the Kiwis end-of-season tour of England, when Johnson was still a Warrior. By December 1 he had been released by the Auckland-based club and a shock move to the Sharks completed.
The pair face off at Shark Park on Saturday afternoon both desperate not to start the season with two straight defeats and knowing what a win would mean to their respective teams.
The poster boy for Warriors football since taking the under-20s to a grand final win in 2010 and playing in the 2011 NRL grand final against the Sea Eagles, Johnson must now start the process of winning over a new set of supporters.
Proctor knows how that feels having joined the Titans in 2017 after nine years at the Storm and how important it will be for Johnson to give the Sharks fans something to get excited about.
"I'm pretty sure he wanted to be a one-club player but these things happen," said Proctor, who has a career record of 11 wins from 13 career clashes against the Sharks.
Sharks v Titans - Round 2
"That's rugby league. You've got to move on when you get pushed out of the club.
"Maybe he wanted to test himself at a new club.
"Shaun's a quality player and I know he'll turn up this weekend in the right frame of mind.
"I'm sure he'll light up the park sooner rather than later."
The Titans withstood a barrage of early pressure before succumbing 21-0 to the Raiders in their season-opener and according to Proctor, if they let Cronulla get the upper hand early Johnson will quickly come into his own.
"If we let his first couple of runs be good then he plays off the back of that," said Proctor.
"You don't really want to poke the bear with him because if he gets his confidence up he's a really hard player to handle.
"We've got to be on the ball handling Shauny and make sure the boys are doing a good job."
Like much of Cronulla’s attack, the spark for Johnson will most likely stem from prop forward Andrew Fifita.
A match-winner in his own right with his unnatural combination of size, speed and skill, a rampant Fifita will give Johnson a fractured defensive line to exploit, and Proctor knows it.
"It's pretty tough because he's a quality player," Proctor said of limiting Fifita's influence.
"He's really hard to tackle because he's a big frame and he can use the ball and he's quite agile on his feet for a big fella.
"We'll just try and get some numbers around him and try and contain his offloads, try and limit how much ball he gets and try to just surround him with people."