RUGBY LEAGUE –
The hosting of the New Zealand Warriors at Central Coast Stadium is over – at least for now, yet the Kiwi side has been forced to say farewell to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck before returning to Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland for their Round 22 match against the Bulldogs.
On Monday, July 26, the club announced their team captain’s departure earlier than expected, allowing the Samoan-born rugby player to return home to New Zealand before their Government pauses its Covid-19 travel bubble with Australia for at least eight weeks.
This will give Tuivasa-Sheck the chance to begin his career transition from Rugby League to Union after nine years in the NRL.
Earlier this season in Round Six at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, he played his 100th game for the Warriors in the 20 – 14 win over St George Illawarra.
He last played at Central Coast Stadium on Friday, July 2, in Round 16 against the St George Dragons in an 18 – 19 loss, this being his 110th out of 111 games for the Warriors, a period involving 30 personal tries.
He has made 195 NRL appearances and scored 58 tries after debuting and playing three seasons with the Sydney Roosters.
He became the second Warrior’s player to lead in 100 matches as captain during this season, a game lost to the Penrith Panthers, 16 – 30, at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Sunday, July 18.
Tuivasa-Sheck became the first Warriors player to win the coveted Dally M Medal in 2018.
He was awarded with the top international player’s award: the Golden Boot in 2019.
He is also the only player to win the Warriors’ player of the year accolade in three consecutive seasons: 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“We’re hugely sympathetic to Roger’s position,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“The Government paused the travel bubble last week and announced it was giving New Zealanders seven days to return home.
“The reality is the border might be closed for more than eight weeks.
“Roger is going to Rugby Union with our blessing but if we require him to see out the rest of his contract he won’t be able to return home until at least the end of September and maybe a lot later.
“It would seriously impact on his ability to make his start in Union and we wouldn’t want to see that happen.
“We were so excited about the chance of Roger being farewelled at Mount Smart Stadium on August 15.
“It would have been so fitting.
“It’s disappointing for everyone that there can’t be a better end to a wonderful career but these are the times we’re living in.”
Media release, July 26
Richard Brecht, New Zealand Warriors