NRL: NZ Warriors confirm veteran forward Tohu Harris as captain for homecoming season

Veteran forward Tohu Harris will lead NZ Warriors for the 2023 NRL season, as they return to their Mt Smart Stadium home from a COVID-19 exile across the Tasman.

Harris, 31, took the leadership mantle last season, after predecessor Roger Tuivasa-Sheck switched codes to rugby, but could not inspire his team beyond their equal-worst record of six wins/18 losses.

Despite the Warriors' struggles during the pandemic, the former premiership winner with Melbourne Storm has maintained his own high standards, on and off the field, winning back-to-back Simon Mannering Medals in 2020 and 2021, as the club's outstanding player.

"I've always had great admiration and respect for Tohu watching him from the outside," said new Warriors coach Andrew Webster. "Now I have the pleasure and privilege of working with him, it has more than reinforced his standing as one of the best players in the game.

"He brings so much to our club and to our team, and I’m excited for what lies ahead with Tohu as our captain."

Harris has his sights set on two major career milestones this season - he needs three more games to bring up 200 NRL appearances, while a century of games for the Warriors beckons later in the schedule.

He may also lead the Warriors against Brisbane Broncos at Napier on May 25, a true homecoming for the Hawke's Bay native.

"I'm honoured to be able to lead the club again in what is such an important season for us," he said. "We had a challenging time being away from home for three years, but it's been exciting for us being back home in familiar surroundings at last.

"We can't wait to play in front of fans around the country and reconnect with them."