The history of rugby league converts is full of variety in the levels of success achieved. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck sits in the upper echelon of those stories, having donned the All Blacks jersey, but struggled to find a home in the 15-man code.
Now, the Dally M winner is in training with Auckland’s NPC team, preparing for his final season in rugby before he returns to the NRL and the Warriors.
There’s no rush to move on though, Tuivasa-Sheck is grounded with a growth mindset that is embracing all of the opportunities before him.
Set to take the field for a stacked Gulls squad, the hot-stepper is determined to end his Auckland career with some silverware.
“I have 13 weeks with this crew and I’m pretty excited about this team,” he told 1News at Auckland training.
“To win a championship here would be pretty cool – I’m an Auckland boy, grew up here so that would be something special to leave here with a title for Auckland.
“There’s so many little things I’ve really enjoyed (in rugby), especially the off-field things.
“On-field, it’s all the same – you work hard, you get rewarded for what you put in, that’s all the good stuff – but I feel it’s the off-field rugby does really well.
“The connecting, getting together – that’s the stuff I want to take back to league so that we can grow teams a lot tighter and professional.
“There’s so many little things I know I can take back.”
With his Warriors side having grown a lot in his absence and currently enjoying their best form in years, sitting third on the NRL table, RTS is looking forward to switching back to a more familiar code.
The midfielder found amusement in his journey, going from an NRL rookie to a leader who young players would come to for advice, and back to a rookie in rugby who would learn from young players.
“I’ve had to really lean on players, whereas before (in rugby league) I was giving out the answers and people would come to me, now I have to lean on some younger boys.
“I remember just training and running with the boys and I would do something and I could tell that I was doing it wrong but they were too shy to say something, so I had to say, ‘boys, don’t forget, I’m a rookie, you might see me in a different way but I’m a rookie and I want to learn so please put me on show or blow me up if I’m not doing it right because that’s the best way I learn’.
“And credit to them — I was able to don a black jersey which was the ultimate dream for me and it was all because of the boys here that were helping me from Auckland, day one.”
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