NZ Warriors halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita has found his voice and is ready to become a leader in the upcoming NRL season.
After spending much of the 2020 season behind Blake Green, Harris-Tavita has emerged from Green’s shadow, ready to step up.
"I think I had to get better when Blake Green left," Harris-Tavita says. "He’d played 250 games and losing that amount of experience, somebody had to lift their game and I had to take my game to another level."
While he has the confidence in his skillset, the vocal part of his game is something he’s looking to continue improving.
"Being the halfback, you've got to be the loudest voice in the team and people are looking to you to guide the team around the park," he says. "It's part of my development and work for this year."
And Harris-Tavita has the backing of new permanent halves partner Kodi Nikorima, with the pair - if healthy - likely to lead the Warriors around the field together this season.
"This year, he's certainly found his voice," Nikorima says. "I actually noticed at the back end of last year - when Greeny left, he [Harris-Tavita] definitely stepped up and made my job easier."
The pair are relishing the chance to play together, rather than competing for one spot, like they were last year.
“It's been awesome, it's been our first pre-season spent together,” Nikorima says. "Last year, we were both fighting it out for the No.6 jersey.
"To get all those reps that we didn't have last year will definitely help us moving forward this year."
The pair are looking forward to building as a partnership, but also as individuals. Nikorima’s first full season with the Warriors last year was the one he was most happy with.
"I mentioned last year was probably my most consistent year," Nikorima says. "I don't want to rest on that though, I want to continue to grow my game and go to another level this year."
The two players are critical to the Warriors success in 2021.
"Our halves have to be firing this year," Harris-Tavita says. "Every year, I've got to take my game to another level."
If the Warriors halves can take their game to the level they want, you can bet the players around them will follow.
Join us at 5pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors v Gold Coast NRL season-opener