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Warriors can weaponise pressure in NRL prelim: Johnson

Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS

Shaun Johnson has declared the Warriors' emotional NRL semi-final triumph his favourite moment playing at home for the New Zealand side.

Now, he's urging his teammates to continue weaponising the pressure of being the NRL's biggest feel-good story as they prepare to face Brisbane for a spot in the grand final.

Johnson overcame a calf injury to play a significant role in the Warriors' 40-10 defeat of Newcastle in Auckland on Saturday night

In preparation for Saturday's preliminary final against Brisbane, the halfback earned an early mark, coming off to cheers from the Warriors' crowd at their first home final since 2008.

Looking across the packed stadium, after the week that was, rated more highly for Johnson than any other moment playing at home in 207 games for the Warriors.

"I can't think of a better one," he said.

"A moment I'll never forget.

"I'm friggin 33, I've played a few seasons now. That's as special as it gets. They (the crowd) just make me feel so good. I love them for it."

The victory came after a week in which Johnson's race to recover from injury was the subject of intense interest in both New Zealand and Australia.

It also followed a hefty loss to Penrith in week one of the finals that put the Warriors at risk of exiting the finals in straight sets despite their resurgent regular season.

There will be more pressure on the Warriors' shoulders when they travel to Brisbane and attempt to upset the high-flying Broncos behind enemy lines.

But Johnson, halfback for the Warriors' last grand final appearance in 2011, said the side had already proved they could use that pressure to their advantage.

"I've seen some of the headlines coming out. Everyone's talking about pressure and the weight of the nation on our shoulders, on my shoulders," he said.

"If you want to channel that and use that correctly, you can create moments like we've just done (in the semi-final).

"We've done what we practised all week and we know that if we do that at a high level, it's good enough to beat anyone.

"It's the same mindset heading into next week: Get our prep right, we go out there whenever we play next week and just do what we say we're going to do."

The Warriors' home crowd, the same that gave Johnson his greatest Auckland moment on Saturday night, will be at the forefront of his mind as he prepares for Brisbane.

"We've given ourselves a really awesome opportunity to do something special for our fanbase and for our club," he said.

"It's an opportunity you just don't want to mess up."