RTS calm ahead of comeback
This Saturday night Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will combine his comeback from a serious knee injury with his debut as the captain of the New Zealand Warriors, but insists he isn't feeling any nerves in the lead-up to his return game.
The trial match against the Storm at Sunshine Coast Stadium will be the 23-year-old fullback's first game in over nine months, after rupturing his ACL in Round 7 last year.
It will also be the first time Tuivasa-Sheck runs out with the 'c' next to his name, after being announced as Ryan Hoffman's replacement as skipper of the Kiwi club early last week.
"I am feeling good at the moment, I haven't really thought about [the mental side] yet, a lot of people have been asking 'How is the knee? How is this?' But I have done a lot of practice and I trust in my medical team," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"I think he (coach Stephen Kearney) is giving me the first half or something like that.
"It's been a long time since I have played with the boys, our combos are looking good, I'm feeling good and I just want to play.
"Today we did a full contact session where I was running and getting tackled and the more I do it the more comfortable I get.
"I have got two trials to get under my belt and come Round 1 I should be sweet."
The first game back from a serious injury is always tough in the NRL Telstra Premiership, and Tuivasa-Sheck will have the added challenge of juggling it with any nerves surrounding his first time captaining a senior side.
But the Kiwi international fullback said he would lean on advice from former club captains Ryan Hoffman and Simon Mannering, as well as his experience gained while being part of the leadership group at the Sydney Roosters earlier in his career.
"I have been talking a lot with the players here…Issac Luke who I work closely with, Simon Mannering and Ryan Hoffman also," he said.
"I tend to ask them 'Hey bro, during that meeting did I say the right things? How did I go?'
"That was a good experience [being part of the leadership group at the Roosters], I had some awesome guys there in that group, Anthony Minichiello who was captain at the time such a good person to lean on and talk with.
"They got us to do a few courses here and there to upskill our leadership skills, and it's good to have those skills and bring it back here.
"I am still just doing everything as normal…I think once Round 1 hits with the press and all that stuff then I will start to feel it."
Meanwhile Kearney expressed his displeasure at the Warriors' early exit from last weekend's Nines tournament, which saw them fail to make the quarter-finals for the first time.
The Kiwi club lost all three of their pool matches and failed to impress on either side of the ball.
"We had a certain expectation, I thought it was a little disappointing for us, and I made the boys fairly aware of that," Kearney said.
"We worked pretty hard all pre-season to attack with the ball a certain way and to defend a certain way and it didn't look like how we spent 15 weeks of pre-season, so it was a little disappointing in that sense.
"I thought there were certainly some areas of improvement for us."