Why Kearney named RTS captain
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has revealed that he was so impressed with fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's attitude and commitment coming back from injury that he knew he had to name him captain.
An assistant at the Brisbane Broncos since 2013, Kearney arrived in New Zealand in the off-season aware of the tall task that awaited him by taking on a head coaching role with one of the NRL's most inconsistent sides.
The first thing on the agenda for the 44-year-old was change, dumping veteran Ryan Hoffman as captain and replacing him with a quiet 23-year-old.
Unexpected to many, Kearney decided to shake things up at the Warriors in the hope it would start a major change in culture at the club.
Now with just one week until the 2017 NRL season kicks off, it remains to be seen if Kearney's bold choice will pay off, but one thing is for sure: Tuivasa-Sheck has been outstanding since the decision was made.
A standout all pre-season, Tuivasa-Sheck is high on confidence and that is great to see after a tough 2016 for the former Sydney Rooster.
The New Zealand international went through a long and arduous rehabilitation that year after suffering a horrible ACL injury in Round 7 that ended his season.
One of the first Warriors Kearney met when he arrived at the club, Tuivasa-Sheck's workrate and passion immediately made an impression.
"Roger is one of the real professionals of the game, and I can say that without a doubt in my mind," Kearney said.
"He did whatever he could in his power to come back from a serious injury. It doesn't look like he's missed a beat.
"He's a wonderful professional and it's a real credit to him. It's a big part of why I made him captain."
But Tuivasa-Sheck won't have to do it on his own, with a host of experienced heads set to help guide New Zealand's young gun.
Kearney said he expects those who have been around the NRL for many years to share their knowledge with their new captain.
"Roger is a wonderful lad and brings a lot of energy to the team," he said.
"But it's not just about his leadership. Shaun Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering, Isaac Luke and Kieran Foran will all give him a lot of support.
"They will definitely help him become a great captain. In saying that, Roger's whole package is at an elite level.
"He's been great all pre-season and has earned his position as the Warriors' captain."
The Warriors will open their 2017 campaign against the Newcastle Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on March 5.