NRL: Returning Roger Tuivasa-Sheck dazzles NZ Warriors teammates in comeback performance against Wests Tigers

If NZ Warriors fans are excited by the return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, his teammates are in the exact same boat.  

On Sunday, Tuivasa-Sheck made his long-awaited first appearance in a Warriors jersey since 2021, after a stint in rugby union.  

Playing at centre, Tuivasa-Sheck was by far the biggest eye-catcher – even as the Warriors slipped to an 18-16 defeat to Wests Tigers in their first trial match of the NRL pre-season.  

In 60 minutes, Tuivasa-Sheck made 14 runs for 134 metres gained, to go with two tackle breaks and one offload. On defence, the former Dally M medallist made nine tackles, in his first taste of his new role.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck against Wests Tigers.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck against Wests Tigers. Photo credit: Photosport

And if the 30-year-old is putting up those kinds of numbers in his first taste of the centres, it's scary to think what could be possible once the Warriors are at full strength.  

Sunday also marked the return of Chanel Harris-Tavita, who himself is back after a year out of the NRL altogether.  

But despite having shared a dressing room with Tuivasa-Sheck in the past, Harris-Tavita likes what he sees.  

"Roger's a freak," Harris-Tavita told Newshub. "Webby [coach Andrew Webster] told me before the game 'I want you to run the ball early'.  

"When I caught the ball, I passed it to Rog – he beat three people. I'd rather pass to him, him break some tackles than me take a carry.  

"As much ball as we can get in Roger's hands, the better it is for the team."  

Tuivasa-Sheck playing in the No.4 jersey was perhaps an indication of what's to come for the Warriors this season.  

In particular, his display came on the same edge as winger, and captain for the day, Marcelo Montoya.  

Webster throwing Tuivasa-Sheck and Montoya together is likely no coincidence, as a means of building that combination for the rest of the season as players look to cement their spots before the NRL begins.

And if Sunday is any barometer, that combination has more than enough potency to trouble defences.  

"It's special," said Montoya. "Roger's a special player, all you have to do is give him early ball, and you can see what he does with it.  

"He beats people, and he throws people off. It's awesome to have him back."  

Tuivasa-Sheck could have another run at centre as early as Saturday, when the Warriors host Redcliffe Dolphins at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart.