Main content

How Good Is: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Chris Kennedy NRL.com Thu, Nov 14, 2013 - 11:00 AM

Sydney Roosters and New Zealand young gun Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is one of the NRL's most promising young talents. Copyright: NRL Photos

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck broke into the Roosters' first grade side in late 2012 on the back of some scintillating form in the under-20s ranks (188 metres per game and 12 tries in 17 appearances).

He didn't score a try in those six games – but there was a portent of huge things to come when playing against the Dragons in just his second game, he gathered the ball in his own in-goal then slipped over. Showing a blinding turn of pace he recovered then swerved through the broken St George Illawarra defensive line and into space, making 40 metres before finding halfback Mitchell Pearce in support who ran away to cross untouched.

RT-S stepped it up more than just one notch in 2013, becoming a first-choice winger for the tricolours, with team highs in average metres (134 per game), tackle breaks (96) and line breaks (19), while scoring nine tries to boot. His early season form earned him 18th-man honours for the Kiwis in the Anzac Test. The end of the season ushered in a premiership ring and an almost first-choice call-up to the Kiwis squad for the World Cup.

His Trademark Moves: Blinding pace and great athleticism are two of Tuivasa-Sheck's biggest assets but what really sets him apart is his sublime footwork. In the blink of an eye he can go from being flat-footed to having side-stepped a defender and shooting through the line leaving puzzled defenders in his wake. 

We saw it in the Dragons game in 2012, when he beat a row of would-be tacklers looking to swarm over him as he jumped back to his feet following his in-goal stumble – before he then proceeded to beat half the team.

His Key Plays: RT-S's speed was on show again in Round 24 of 2013, when he received a pass from Sonny Bill Williams in the second half while flat-footed, with Todd Carney standing between himself and the Sharks' tryline.

In the blink of an eye he was gone, leaving Carney – himself a brilliant mover on the footy field – clutching at thin air, finding himself one on one with fullback Michael Gordon and putting Daniel Mortimer over to score. Very few players are capable of such evasive feats and it's a key reason why Roosters fans are so excited about what he will bring to the club over the next few years and beyond.

It wasn't the only big play from Tuivasa-Sheck this year – his brilliant athletic grounding just inside the dead-ball line in the first week of the finals to earn the only points of the match in that 4-0 win over Manly was another. 

But that moment against the Sharks encapsulates, perhaps better than any other, how in a single moment his breathtaking skills can change the course of a game in a way few other players can.