Rookie Tevaga impresses after late call-up
Before Jazz Tevaga could even begin to worry about making his Telstra Premiership debut against the Melbourne Storm on Sunday, he had a more pressing issue to deal with.
He had to tell his mum Melissa and then break it to her that she wasn't allowed to share the news on Facebook.
"I told my family but I told them they couldn't post it, mum was a bit annoyed because she always posts stuff about me," Tevaga said following the 21-14 loss to the Storm at Mt Smart Stadium.
A late call-up for the Warriors after usual hooker Issac Luke suffered a knee injury, Tevaga started ahead of fellow hooker Nathaniel Roache, who was himself playing just his third NRL match.
Post-match Tevaga revealed his shock at being pulled aside by coach Andrew McFadden at training the day before the game.
"When I came to training 'Cappy' (McFadden) called me over and he told me 'you are starting for us mate', and I swore... I was just in complete shock," Tevaga said.
"I was a bit peed off actually, I was like 'na, I just finished training, I don't want to train again!'
"Little did I know I would be debuting today, so I am thankful for the opportunity.
"I didn't get to sleep until about 4 o'clock this morning.
"I didn't have much to eat and I was nervous all day."
Twenty-year-old Tevaga played 59 minutes against Melbourne, making 33 tackles with just one miss and carrying the ball seven times for 43 metres.
The Papakura Sea Eagles junior said he took plenty of inspiration from watching Junior Kiwis teammate Te Maire Martin's match-winning performance on debut for the Panthers on Saturday night.
"I watched his game, he is a freak that kid!" Tevaga said.
"He is a close mate of mine and I am very stoked for him and his performance last night. It motivated me, when I saw the score today I was like 'c'mon if Te Maire can do it you can do it'.
"I thought I went alright, obviously I will look at the video and see what happened.
"When Nate (Roache) went down that is when I knew I had to do some big minutes, so I just put my head down and did what I could for the team.
"I thought I handled myself pretty well, I have guys like Benny Mats (Matulino) and big Bull (Jacob Lillyman) protecting me in the middle."
After the match Tevaga was sporting a stitched up cheek following a nasty head clash with teammate Jeff Robson.
"I have been through the wars a bit, but that's what it's like being in the middle," Tevaga said.
"Being a little fella isn't easy with the big boys... but it's OK, I'm used to it."
Warriors prop Ben Matulino was impressed Tevaga's performance, particularly given how late the call-up came.
"I was a bit surprised he knew the game plan, he was only called in yesterday but he slotted in really easily," Matulino said.
"Everyone knew how tough he was and he showed that during the game today."
Tevaga may be set for more time in first grade, with Roache suffering an injury on Sunday and Issac Luke's return date remaining unclear according to McFadden.