Rugby league: NZ Warriors' Jazz Tevaga doing all he can in fundraising pledge for friend's cancer battle

Pulling on his NZ Warriors jersey will have extra meaning for Jazz Tevaga this year, as he literally puts his money where his mouth is and plays for his mate. 

Tevaga originally pledged to donate $100 for every error, missed tackle and penalty in 2023 to support his friend Roman Tuhimana, who has been diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT) sarcoma - a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

But the 27-year-old has now decided to change it up with a more positive spin - donating for every tackle, and $1 for every meter made. He'll also still give $500 for every try scored. 

"Hopefully he doesn't play me at all," Tevaga quipped with a smile on his face when asked if coach Andrew Webster will play him on the wing to raise money. 

"He (Roman) just told me it's going to be an expensive season for me but I'm ready for it brother. Hopefully I don't give him any money." 

But behind the jokes and jibes, an emotional Tevaga is willing to do all he can for Tuhimata, after what's been an extremely difficult time for him, his friends and family. 

"I grew up with Roman playing for Papakura Sea Eagles, playing right from mini mods through to Junior Warriors," Tevaga told Newshub.

"He's like a brother to me, he's one of my best mates so, it's been a tough couple of months.

"Roman can't work, he's got bills to pay, he's just bought a house so we thought it was a good idea to try and raise some money for him and his family. 

"He's 27, he's my age. He's a builder, a hard-working class man, a big tall friendly giant.

"He's the one friend that all of us [when] as a group of friends have always had fights with each other and he's always the one that will break it up in the middle.

"Anyone that knows Roman knows he's a happy guy and has a smile on his face."

The Warriors are also looking at how to help Tevaga's efforts.

"[Chief executive] Cameron George just called me into his office, [saying] the club want to do something for him as well. Now we're home we get the chance to connect with people.

"I know in the past we've been to Starship and things like that so I'm sure we'll be doing stuff in the future. 

"We're one New Zealand team so it's important we get out and do stuff in the community." 

The Givealittle page for Tuhimata can be found here, with just under $20,000 raised so far.