'Earn your way': NZ Warriors skipper confirms shock move

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has confirmed he will leave the NRL after the 2021 season to pursue spot on the All-Blacks team. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has confirmed he will leave the NRL after the 2021 season to pursue spot on the All-Blacks team. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck wants to deliver the Warriors their maiden NRL premiership as a parting gift before leaving to chase a deal with New Zealand rugby at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old Dally M winner has been released from the final year of his contract with the Warriors in 2022, though he is yet to sign a deal with any rugby club.

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Tuivasa-Sheck will be the latest high-profile NRL player to switch to the 15-man code at the peak of his career, joining the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Folau and Suliasi Vunivalu.

On Saturday morning, Tuivasa-Sheck said he came to the decision a few months ago that the time was right to pursue a career in the sport he grew up playing.

"It's always been there and it's no secret ... rugby is the sport I grew up playing," he said.

"Rugby is where I started my junior footy and playing rugby right through. It's always been there in the background.

"To do it now at a time like this and to have the club's support, that's why I chose to do it now."

The timing would appear right with the Rugby World Cup approaching in 2023, but he said any suggestion he would walk into the All Blacks side is' disrespectful'.

"I've been getting a lot of people saying 'you're going to the All Blacks', but that's a bit disrespectful to a brand like that, so my whole thing is just to go back and play rugby," he said.

"You don't just walk into a brand like the All Blacks, you've got to earn your way in."

Tuivasa-Sheck confirms NRL exit after 2021 season

The Warriors skipper also refused to say which position he is hoping to play, although it's likely he could start on the wing before developing a kicking game to move into fullback or even centre.

As for the Warriors and how the club goes about replacing their best player, the club has been working behind the scenes for a while.

CEO Cameron George said the decision didn't come as a shock to the club and there had already been discussions on how to recruit a player to replace the star fullback.

However, the club was shocked by the news breaking in the media on Thursday, forcing Tuivasa-Sheck to hurriedly tell his teammates before the story was published.

"I wish I could have announced it properly and let them know first and in a better way, but the boys have been really good and really supportive and they're keen to make it happen this year, and I'm all in with them," he said.

"This club is really important to me and special to me.

"I've been wanting to do all I can for this club and I'm even more driven to try and make it happen this year and I know the team are too."

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