Rugby League: NZ Warriors coach backing rookie halfback Sean O'Sullivan to shine against Canberra Raiders

NZ Warriors coach Nathan Brown is endorsing the rise of Sean O'Sullivan, following the rookie's elevation to first-grade halfback against Canberra Raiders this weekend.

After regular No.7 Chanel Harris-Tavita's injury prognosis seeing him sidelined for up to 12 weeks with a broken metatarsal in his foot, 22-year-old O'Sullivan will make his Warriors debut on Saturday.

O'Sullivan, the son of Warriors' recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan, is no stranger to the NRL though, having made a handful of appearances with both the Roosters and the Broncos.

Coach Brown says that O'Sullivan is the Warriors' best like-for-like replacement to replace the injured Harris-Tavita.

"Sean is a bit different to Chanel, but a bit the same too," Brown said. "They've both got a left foot kick, which is good, so parts of it don't change.

"Chanel is quite a strong ball carrier, whereas Sean is a very good organiser and understands the game well, he's been around the game a lot, he started at the Roosters, then went to the Broncos, played a bit of first grade footy then unfortunately picked up an injury, then came back last year.

"So he hasn't had a real good chance to make an account of himself, but he certainly understands the game well and I'm sure he'll help point the team in the right direction."

After a thumping 19-6 victory over Gold Coast Titans in round one, Brown's side's expectations were given a reality check with last week's 20-16 defeat to Newcastle Knights.

But Brown says that even in defeat, the lessons learned against Newcastle will hold the Warriors in good stead to grow for the rest of the season.

"Basically we're looking to slowly grow our game. From week one to week two, to week three," he adds.

"I thought last week we played a bit better than we did the week before. That last touch of the game we weren't quite good enough unfortunately, so if we can continue to improve, that's the key for us, because if we can keep competing and hanging in there in games, like we are, I'm sure we'll pick up wins along the way."

Join Newshub for live updates of the Warriors v Raiders from 5:00pm Saturday.