New NZ Warriors recruit Reece Walsh isn't feeling any pressure to be the next Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, after signing on to replace the Auckland club's captain next year.
Walsh, 18, has recently linked with the Warriors at their Australian base on the Central Coast, after he was granted an early release from Brisbane Broncos.
The fullback has been earmarked as Tuivasa-Sheck's replacement, signing a three-year deal, as the Warriors skipper prepares to farewell rugby league and return to rugby union with the Blues in 2022.
And Walsh has already hit the ground running, scoring a try for the Warriors' Redcliffe Dolphins feeder club in their 34-28 loss to Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup.
That form has seen Walsh named on an extended Warriors bench, as they prepare to face Melbourne Storm on Sunday.
But rather than feeling weighed down by expectation, Walsh is confident he has the goods to replace the Warriors talisman.
"I know I need to go out there and play my style of footy," Walsh says. "I know everyone's going to expect that I'm filling Roger's shoes, but I'm not Roger and I'm a different player to Roger."
Initially intending to join the Warriors next year, Walsh gained an early release from Brisbane to link up with the NZ side immediately, crediting coach Nathan Brown, and senior players Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris for bringing him to the club.
Walsh will get to spend the rest of 2021 learning from one of the best in the game.
"I had a good chat with Browny, and he was honest with where he saw me playing a part in the team and where he saw the team going forward," says Walsh. "I sat down with Tohu and Roger, and I fired some questions at them.
"They answered honestly and I wanted to get here as soon as possible, so that I could take in the knowledge and learn from him [Tuivasa-Sheck], see what he does on and off the field.
"That played a major part in me signing with the club and wanting to get over here a year early to learn off him. I felt like I could fit right into that and I could be a good asset to the team."
Join us for live updates of the Warriors v Storm NRL clash from 8:15pm Sunday.