Albury Thunder sign New Zealand halve Daniel Johnson ahead of crunch Group 9 match

ALBURY Thunder have wasted little time moving on from last week’s drama by signing New Zealand halve Daniel Johnson.

NEW DIRECTION: Albury Thunder recruit Daniel Johnson with coach Josh Cale at Albury Airport on Wednesday. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

NEW DIRECTION: Albury Thunder recruit Daniel Johnson with coach Josh Cale at Albury Airport on Wednesday. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

Only days after axing Tuki Jackson as coach, Thunder have swooped on Johnson who played with Andrew Smith at Leeton earlier in his career.

Johnson, 30, has spent the past few years playing in Sydney competitions including the Ron Massey Cup.

“Obviously we hope he will give us some more direction, talk and enthusiasm and help steer us around the park,” new coach Josh Cale said.

“We have young Mac (Daly) in his first year of first grade and Daniel will give us a bit more experience in the halves which we are crying out for.

“Shannon (Rupapere) is out for the year so it’s exciting to get Daniel on board with us.”

Johnson flew into Albury on Wednesday and is set to make his debut in Sunday’s crunch match against Junee at Junee.

It remains unclear if Jackson will play on at Greenfield Park with the big New Zealander still weighing up his future.

“I’m still thinking about it and it’s a hard decision to make,” Jackson said.

“Obviously everything has happened so fast.”

While Albury has lost recent games to Kangaroos, Southcity and Gundagai, it remains in the top five and are a win, plus percentage, clear of the chasing pack.

Smith will miss Sunday’s match after his suspension was reduced from four matches to one for his role in the brawl against Gundagai.

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