Johnson has left the Warriors and signed for Cronulla, after requesting an early release from his contract.

The playmaker said recently that Kearney "didn't like him".

But the Warriors boss, who has also coached Johnson with the Kiwis Test team, was surprised by that description.

"I can honestly say, after spending close to 20 Test matches working with him, and certainly at close quarters over the last two years … the first time I heard about that (poor relationship) was two weeks ago following the request for a release,” Kearney said.

“It came as news to me but I’ve been around the business long enough to know that that happens. It’s unfortunate that it happens and we all move on. I’ve got no problem with Shaun.

"Shaun requested a release from the final year with the club and after some careful thought, we didn't want to keep a guy here who didn't want to be here."

Kearney believes Johnson's contribution to the Warriors should be celebrated.

"I think it's really important that we remind ourselves of the contribution that he made to our footy club," he said.

"He played 162 games and has provided a great deal of highlights to our members and fans and that shouldn't be forgotten."