Warriors great backs Tuivasa-Sheck captaincy
It caught the rugby league world by surprise – including the man himself – but Warriors legend Ali Lauiti'iti believes that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has the qualities needed to lead the club into a new era of success.
Lauiti'iti was at the home of the Mangere East Hawks on Thursday as part of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines community carnival, promoting the 2017 Rugby League World Cup along with the 'Volcano' Lesley Vainikolo.
After 12 years playing in England Lauiti'iti returned to the Warriors last year for one final swansong and although he didn't get to add to his 115 career games for the club, saw firsthand how Tuivasa-Sheck carries himself.
The 23-year-old played only seven games in his first season at the Warriors last year before rupturing his ACL, yet while there were other candidates such as incumbent Ryan Hoffman and former captains Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering, new coach Stephen Kearney announced on Wednesday that Tuivasa-Sheck would carry the honour.
Respondents to a poll on New Zealand website Stuff had both Hoffman and Johnson ahead of Tuivasa-Sheck as their preferred Warriors skipper but Lauiti'iti says they should have faith in what he will bring to the team.
"That's massive and good for him. I know that he trains hard and leads by example," Lauiti'iti told NRL.com.
"They're massive shoes to fill, especially with 'Hoffy' and also with Mannering and all that but I'm sure he'll do well.
"He's a professional and an action man. He leads by example and he leads by his actions more than his words.
"That's massive and he's mature for his age. He's grown up real quick and I think being at the Roosters taught him a lot.
"He's bringing those experiences and he definitely works real hard behind the scenes and does the extras and works with the young kids.
"Even though he's a young kid himself he still gives back to the young kids which is a big thing."
While overlooking more experienced candidates to go for a 23-year-old may be viewed as controversial, Lauiti'iti says that those veterans around Tuivasa-Sheck will aid him on his leadership journey.
"At the Warriors having the 'C' next to your name was just a tag and in that team now there are a whole lot of them that can be captain," said the 37-year-old.
"There are some great leaders in there too so I'm sure they'll help him along the way."