Wells set for familiar battle
Season 2016 presents Warriors recruit Henare Wells with a new opportunity at a new club, but with a familiar face standing between him and a potential NRL spot.
A standout player for the Roosters at Holden Cup and NSW Cup level between 2012-2013, Wells would probably have played some first-grade football through that period had it not been for another talented Kiwi flyer named Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Now following two years where they have been playing in different states – Tuivasa-Sheck at the Roosters and Wells at Queensland Cup side the Burleigh Bears – the pair have linked up at their hometown club in Auckland, with Wells once again chasing his good mate for the No.1 jersey.
"Fullback is the position I usually play but we obviously have a great one coming over here at the Warriors, so 'Cappy' (Andrew McFadden) has said I need to be flexible around the position I play," Wells told NRL.com.
"There is no issue there at all, Roger and I are good mates. When he first flew over to Sydney we hung around together because we were sort of the same age.
"We were basically at each other's house every day.
"What Roger has achieved is great. What he has done in the game, it has inspired me to be just like him to be honest. He is killing it and I don't think there was a better fullback going around last year."
Over the past two seasons Tuivasa-Sheck has reached new heights in his career, winning the 2014 Four Nations with the Kiwis and this year capping off a record-breaking season with the Roosters by being named Dally M Fullback of the Year.
Wells on the other hand has taken a step back by no fault of his own, after tearing the ACL in his right knee in September last year and sitting out the entire 2015 season in order to recover.
That off the back of a 2013 campaign which saw him score 21 tries for the Newtown Jets and be named in the NSW Cup Team of the Year.
"It is sort of frustrating that I haven't been able to play any NRL, especially with the injuries," Wells said.
"I have had a few niggles here and there with different body parts this pre-season, but the knee is fine and I haven't had any dramas with that.
"My manager had been looking around and when the Warriors offered me a year-long deal I was glad to take it because I thought I was pretty lucky to still pick up a contract after having the whole year off, so I packed my bags and came over.
"I was a Warriors fan growing up so this is the dream return being a Kiwi boy and getting to play for the Warriors.
"It was just a good opportunity and with Roger coming over it made me really happy because we are such good mates."