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rugby league player
One area New Zealand certainly does not lack in is talented sportsmen who are passionate, highly-skilled rugby players – and not to mention, easy on the eye. But a few really stand out for their authenticity, charisma and unquestionable commitment to the game – and Shaun Johnson would easily fall into this category.
Nearing his 200th NRL game and having played over 30 Tests for the Kiwis, Shaun is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable and beloved League exports. Shaun hails from a loud and active family of four boys whose dad, Paul, tirelessly supported them to channel their huge amounts of energy and talent in sporting achievements. Paul recalls Shaun as a “freakish sportsman,” who was drop-kicking balls with serious skill from the age of two.
Shaun grew up in the North Auckland village of Whangaparaoa, attending Orewa College, where he played basketball; represented NZ in touch; was a member of the first fifteen rugby team – and of course – excelled in rugby league. By his mid-teens, Shaun was playing League at an impressive level for the Hibiscus Coast Raiders. Recognising his son’s gift, it was Paul who put together a DVD of Shaun’s touch football manoeuvres and posted it to a Brisbane-based family friend with NRL connections in Australia. After watching it, the NZ Warriors development team offered the then 17-year-old a trial.
Shaun was signed for the Under 20 Warriors team for the 2009/2010 seasons; with his raw talent boosting him into the premiere NZ Warriors team in 2011. Uncoincidentally – that year, the NZ Warriors went onto play in the NRL Grand Final. The ensuing years were a fast-moving series of achievements on the field for Shaun; he names a highlight of that period as being awarded the Rugby League Golden Boot winner – acknowledgement as League’s current best player in the world.
In 2019, Shaun debuted for the Cronulla Sharks in Sydney, where he is currently contracted. The accolades have continued, with Shaun being named the Cronulla Sharks Player of the Year 2020. However all these achievements pale for Shaun in comparison to his happiest life moments, marrying wife Kayla (ex-Silver Ferns star) in 2019, and welcoming their daughter Millah together the following year.
For Shaun, it’s family first; their wellbeing and happiness informs every decision he makes. This is all underpinned by a core group of long-time friends who are the backbone of Shaun’s support network, and have stood alongside him through the highs and lows of his League career. Purity Plant Protein is thrilled to have Shaun Johnson join our fitness family and be part of our evolution.