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Harris-Tevita gets green light to play his natural game

Warriors rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita will be free to play his usual ad-lib style in his NRL Telstra Premiership debut against the Titans on Friday.

Two days after celebrating his 20th birthday, Harris-Tavita will make his maiden top-flight appearance at Mount Smart Stadium after coach Stephen Kearney dropped fellow rookie Adam Keighran in response to consecutive losses.

Defence had been the deciding factor in Keighran getting the nod ahead of Harris-Tavita for the five-eighth role in round one.

And while Keighran remains the more complete player at this stage, Harris-Tavita brings genuine x-factor with his strong running game. 

Warriors assistant coach Tony Iro said Harris-Tavita's off-the-cuff style is his biggest attribute and he won't be burdened with too many instructions from the coaching staff.   

"He's a confident kid. He will have a crack basically at everything and I don't think he will be fazed by it," Iro said.

Warriors five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tevita.
Warriors five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tevita. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"He does back himself and ultimately when you are making your debut that's all we can ask of him.

"He's played some top-class footy for our reserve grade and he's confident and ready to go."

Harris-Tavita has been held in high regard ever since entering the Warriors' junior system. He was fast-tracked into the club's National Youth Competition team in 2016 and debuted on the very day he became eligible on his 17th birthday.

Warriors v Titans - Round 4

He was the standout talent in that team the following season, winning the NYC Player of the Year award, before stepping up to the reserve-grade side in 2018 and making 20 appearances.

Halfback Blake Green, who will line up with a debutant playmaking partner for the second time in four games, told his advice for Harris-Tavita was simply to have fun.

"It's just an exciting moment for him and his family, he's a local kid so I just want him to enjoy the moment and stay relaxed," Green said.

"He doesn't need to come up with anything special. He's a very talented kid, but we just want him to have fun.

"Whoever plays in the six jersey has the same type of role, they've got their own skills they bring and contribute to team, but in terms of our game and how we play it won't change much."

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