New Zealand Warriors have stunningly agreed to release Shaun Johnson from the final year of his contract in 2019 immediately.
Johnson had asked for a release when it was revealed the Warriors would not offer him a new contract for 2020.
The star Kiwi halfback, who has played his whole career with his hometown club, is now a free agent.
“Yesterday (head coach) Stephen Kearney, (recruitment manager) Peter O’Sullivan and I met with Shaun and his manager Peter Brown,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said.
“During the meeting Shaun clearly demonstrated to us that he didn’t want to be at the club in 2019.
"On the basis of what Shaun told us, we are not going to compromise our culture on and off the field with people who do not wish to represent our club, members and fans in the way we expect.
“Everything we do is about the club being first and what’s best for our future, our development and ultimately our results. While it’s disappointing it has come to this, we must acknowledge the contribution Shaun has made to the Vodafone Warriors. "