NRL 2020: NZ Warriors reveal new role for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo credit: Photosport

Attacking star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is poised to change his role at the Warriors from a metre-eating phenomenon to an NRL try-scoring weapon.

Coach Stephen Kearney has given some insight into what he says will be a different way of playing in 2020 after the Warriors finished 13th last season.

Their struggles didn't reflect the brilliance of their captain and fullback Tuivasa-Sheck, who was once again one of the elite players in the premiership, following on from his Dally M triumph of 2018.

But Kearney has identified a better way to exploit Tuivasa-Sheck's strengths, revealing he won't be as heavily relied on for big kick-return metres this year.

Instead, Kearney wants his star player's highlights reel to consist of plays that create or finish off tries.

NRL 2020: NZ Warriors reveal new role for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Photo credit: Getty

"Roger, the numbers he clocked up coming out of the backfield are tremendous, but we want to make sure we're saving him up for when we get over the halfway," Kearney told AAP.

"That's when he becomes even more dangerous, in scoring positions or creating scoring opportunities."

Tuivasa-Sheck ran for 4240m last year and broke 106 tackles, second only to Roosters counterpart James Tedesco.

Yet Tedesco finished with 18 tries to the Kiwi's seven.

Tuivasa-Sheck also threw 37 successful offloads, the most by any back in the competition.

With winger Ken Maumalo also a Warriors standout last year for kick returns, the coaching staff have weighed up how to best harness Tuivasa-Sheck's gifts.

"It was about looking at the data, at the evidence that we'd gathered over the course of the year," Kearney said.

"We had to find a way to improve that and part of it was consultation with the leadership group.

"There have been subtle adjustments to the model to make sure everyone plays a part in what we're trying to achieve."

Tuivasa-Sheck is arguably the most important player to any NRL club.

Kearney said he and his players had no problem with commentators who described the Warriors as over-reliant on their skipper - the reigning Golden Boot as the international game's best.

"I reckon if you put Roger in any team he would stand out," Kearney said. "But it's never been an issue with this group.

"He sets a wonderfully high standard and we all want to try to get there.

"It works as a positive."


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