NRL: Ex-Sevens star William Warbrick sets sights on Melbourne Storm debut after code, country switch

It was a shock twist in the career of one of New Zealand rugby sevens' best players. 

In November last year, William Warbrick announced he was switching codes and countries, trading the All Blacks Sevens for rugby league powerhouse Melbourne Storm.

William Warbrick scores against Argentina for the All Blacks Sevens at the Tokyo Olympics.
William Warbrick scores against Argentina for the All Blacks Sevens at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

And while the 24-year old is still waiting for his NRL debut, it's not for a want of trying.

Warbrick knew he could play sevens, but when he switched to league, there were adjustments he had to make.

"There were some doubts in the first week in the pre-season," Warbrick told Newshub. "It was a shock."

Almost as much a shock as his decision in January, switching codes just months after winning silver with the All Black Sevens in Tokyo.

"I've played league before. [I] felt like I had to start over again, and build myself up from the basics and fundamentals of my game."

It's a game vastly different to the technicality of playing sevens. Add to that adapting to a city that, at the time of his arrival, was in lockdown.

"Once you get to meet everyone and find your feet, it's pretty easy to train."

Making things easier still, is the Kiwi comradery at the Storm.

"We're lucky," says Storm captain and New Zealand international Jesse Bromwich. "We've got a few Kiwis here, and we do a lot together."

"They were reaching out to me and making me feel welcome," Warbrick added. "[They'd] take me out to dinner or coffee or whatever." 

Now he's settled, Warbrick has his sights set on pulling on a Storm jersey for the first time, as Melbourne target a fifth NRL premiership.

"I had a goal of making a debut this year, or season at least."

And he hopes that will be on home soil, when NZ Warriors host the storm at Mt Smart later this year.