‘Teams will probably target that edge’: Dual international sends down RTS warning ahead of NRL return

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has a whole country watching him as he seeks to restart his rugby league career with the New Zealand Warriors this year following a stint in the other code.

He returns to a club markedly different to that which he left, with a new coach in Andrew Webster and a confidence reborn after a hugely successful 2023 season that saw the Wahs capture the heart of the Kiwi public.

Few have made the transition back over without a hiccup, but one who has is ex-Kangaroos and Wallabies back Timana Tahu, who was able to force his way into Origin with ten games of resuming his career in the NRL after switching to play for the Waratahs.

He managed it in the centres, making Tahu almost uniquely placed to offer advice to Tuivasa-Sheck on making the transition back.

“It will take him a few games to warm into it and teams will probably target that edge as well,” Tahu told NRL.com.

“Depending on how he goes in the Pre-Season Challenge, if he makes a few misreads teams will start looking at that and they’ll know he’s coming back from rugby union and that he is a fullback or winger usually.

“I feel like he is going to come back a better player and, for me, the Warriors have made a really good decision in bringing Roger back to rugby league.

(Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

The biggest question, according to Tahu, would be around his ability to learn the nuances of the centre position – but the former outside back thought that the new role would give RTS extra fuel to make a success of himself.

“I see (it) as what Roger needs coming back in,” he said.

“Coming back from rugby, you don’t want to be cruising, he will want a challenge and this is really good for him actually.

“He will invite those challenges and see that as a goal, for him to prove people wrong, which I feel like he will be able to do.

“I think he can thrive and be one of the best centres in the game. The attacking side won’t be a problem. His fitness levels when it comes to attack, he’s going to kill it.

“The centre position is really hard defensively now and attack on the edges is pretty big these days, with a lot of tries scored in the corner.

“You only have to look at the data when it comes to wingers scoring tries; last season it was enormous and so many finished on over 20 tries.

“That tells you there are a lot of tries scored on the edges, so the defensive decisions centres have to make are really hard.

“If you haven’t played there before then it can be a challenge and that will be something Andrew Webster will be drilling into him, making sure that defensively he is making the right decisions.”

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