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Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's youngest son started crawling for the first time last week, while his dad was more than 2000km away.

"Oh man, I think about going home all the time, especially when I'm watching a milestone like that on my phone," the Warriors captain says.

"Just [the idea of] being with my kids and being with my partner. 

"I'm pretty lucky. My partner, she's a tough girl. She's got her parents any my siblings back home helping out. If she wasn't then it'd be a different story.

"But I'm just glad she's got her support there and I've got mine here with my teammates."

Tuivasa-Sheck is going on four months away from his young Auckland-based family, a sacrifice that will stretch past 150 days by the end of the regular season.

Warriors assistant coaches Stacey Jones and Tony Iro carry the same burden.

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So too football manager Dan Floyd, gear steward Laurie Hale, head of performance Craig Twentyman, physio Jed Smethurst and half a dozen other club staffers.

Todd Payten's wife and kids have touched down in Australia but are still in quarantine ahead of their entry into the Warriors' COVID-19 bubble.

A 50-strong contingent of players and staff on the Central Coast that endured one of the toughest periods in club history, an achievement in itself given the regular tumult and upheaval the Warriors have come to make their own over 25 years.

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A series of sacrifices that has them still within striking distance of the finals – however unlikely a top eight surge may be – when many predicted a complete collapse by this point in the season.

A series of sacrifices that just might prove the making of the club, and the waking of the NRL's long-regarded sleeping giant.

"There's no window-dressing it. Earlier this year the club was at a pretty low point," CEO Cameron George says from New Zealand.

Stephen Kearney was told his time was up in a mid-season call that bewildered some players and felt like a betrayal to others given his stature in camp.

Ninety points were conceded in losses to South Sydney and Melbourne either side of Kearney's sacking.

"There comes a time when you're bleeding, bruised and battered," George says.

"You've got sleepless nights and you're full of stress, and at that point you decide what you stand for.

"We have an exceptional group of men and women that got confronted with that, and they've decided what we stand for.

"There was a point in time where everyone accepted that the rest of this season was what it was, we weren't going home.

"That acceptance took away the uncertainty. And when you're thinking about that uncertainty, it's hard to fully commit yourself to whatever you're doing.

"Since then, there's been a huge shift, on and off-the-field, in performance. They're well and truly in the trenches together.

"The staff have done a wonderful job as a whole. There's a huge contingent over there without family.

"They're doing an amazing job at helping these players flourish under extreme and difficult circumstances. The boys are repaying that on the field, you can see the bond between all of them."

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That bond is one Payten heard talked about often during his first 18 months with the club in Auckland.

But not until the Warriors relocated to keep the NRL season alive, committing to "living in each other's pockets" along the way, did he see it truly take hold within his squad.

Tuivasa-Sheck, the multimillion-dollar face of the club, is seeing the same, a shift that keeps him from jumping on a plane across the Tasman.

"We're finding that we're all in this together, and it's something no club has really done before," he says.

"We're all in the bubble together. So you either get sick of each other or you work out your issues. That's what we're doing.

"A lot of us don't have family here. And yeah you do get sick of each other, all the time. But that's how families work and that's how you get through it.

"I'm proud that I'm here, and my family is too, sticking it out for the club. The way we're playing and growing as a team, it makes it worth it.

"You know you're doing it for the right reasons, it makes the weeks go a lot easier."

Already though, despite the 2021 season still being seven months away, the Warriors are confronted with having to do it all again.

With international borders still closed and COVID-19 not going away anytime soon, George and club powerbrokers are doing their due diligence on relocation options for next year.

Tuivasa-Sheck and fellow senior leader Tohu Harris have both hosed down suggestions they would look to leave the Warriors if the club is forced to play out of Redcliffe or the Central Coast next year.

But a guarantee is just as hard to give when there is so little certainty about the Warriors scenario next season, as individuals and a collective.

"I'm playing for the Warriors and I'm just focusing on right now because that's all we can do," Tuivasa-Sheck says of reports Super Rugby's Auckland Blues approached him about a 2021 code switch.

"There's been no contact to me. I think it's just people putting two and two together with where we are and what can happen.

"We actually don't know what 2021 is going to hold, so you might as well enjoy what you can right now."

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There is no ill-feeling at all toward David Fusitu'a, Ken Maumalo, Leivaha Pulu, Agnatius Paasi or King Vuniyayawa – the five Warriors who returned home to be with their families a month ago.

There are several lessons learned if they're asked to saddle up again under incoming coach Nathan Brown.

Significantly, there is also seven months to work with as well.

"We want to know now what we're in for next year," George says.

"There's so many questions around it obviously, but there won't be any last minute decisions.

"Once we have the info around that, once we've done the leg work, we'll be able to present it to the players and go from there.

"One of the key learnings from this year is, if we go again, we go as one.

"Not trying to negotiate border exemptions in split groups, there's a lot of things that we have the time to work out with certainty this time around."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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