'I've got no problem with Shaun Johnson' - Kearney

The former Warriors star Shaun Johnson is wrong and coach Stephen Kearney says he had no problem with the now Cronulla player.

Kearney has spoken publicly for the first time since Johnson's spectacular departure from the club and his subsequent signing with the Cronulla Sharks.

At the weekend Johnson said Kearney "didn't like him" and that he was left out of discussions about the Warriors' playing rosters, as he was not in the team leadership group.

"I can honestly say after spending close to 20 test matches with him and at close quarters over the last two years... I've got no problem with Shaun," said Kearney.

Kearney refused to reveal what hand he had in Johnson's departure and said he was not "into" the "he said, she said" conversations which have been going on and simply wanted to move on.

Johnson's abrupt exit was triggered when it was revealed the Warriors had advised him to test his value on the open market for a contract post 2019.

Kearney wouldn't answer directly when asked if he wanted Johnson at the club long-term, but did confirm he spoke to the playmaker when he was on tour with the Kiwis in England early last month.

"I made it very clear that we were very committed to Shaun for 2019. He had a contract with the footy club.

"However I was going to help him be better at his job, I was committed to making sure that happened, but what's transpired has transpired."

Warriors chief executive Cameron George had recently taken a crack at Johnson for his inconsistency.

"We need consistent performances and therefore we need consistent individuals, and not everyone has been doing that."

While he shot down speculation Johnson was on the outer, saying he was a respected member of the squad, Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said Johnson's annual training routines meant it hadn't been much different since the shock departure.

Although Johnson had been the face of the Warriors almost since making his NRL debut in 2011, Tuivasa-Sheck said his Kiwis team-mate hadn't usually been one of the earlier players to join the squad for pre-season.

"It's funny you should mention because he [didn't] really start till after Christmas, so it's pretty normal at the moment.

"Once that all finished up with the news of Shaun going the boys were quick to move on and ready to dive into what's next for us."

All that remained now was deciding who would take Johnson's position in the team next season.

Kearney was adamant they would be taking their time and wasn't ruling out either recruiting a new player, or calling on younger squad members Chanel Harris-Tavita, Hayze Perham and newcomer Adam Keighran to step in alongside Blake Green.

"The next recruitment decisions we make, they're really important ones and we're not going to be panicked into making any rash decisions.

"We've got a couple of young guys here that, when you get presented with a challenge what it does is offers others an opportunity. That's what it's done."