Tuivasa-Sheck addresses defection talk

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's NRL future with the Warriors has been called into question.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's NRL future with the Warriors has been called into question.

Tohu Harris says homesick Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has addressed the team to rubbish talk that he won't be with the NRL club next season.

With talk of the Warriors being based in Australia for a second year running due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuivasa-Sheck has been linked with a switch to rugby union so he can be with his family in New Zealand.

Warriors coach Todd Payten last month revealed the 2018 Dally M Medallist was the only player in his squad without family with him in Australia.

But while the 27-year-old is struggling being away from his wife and two young children, Harris insists Tuivasa-Sheck remains committed to the Warriors.

"Rog addressed it with the group that you can't believe things that are written in the papers," Harris said, on the eve of Friday night's showdown with table-topping Penrith on the Central Coast.

"He addressed the group head on and scotched it. So he's fully focused on this year.

"His family are still back in Auckland and I feel for him.

"It's been really hard for him to be away from his family but he's still focusing day by day and bringing energy to the group and he wants everyone to be focusing on this week against the Panthers."

When pressed if that meant their inspirational skipper would be with the Warriors in 2021, Harris said: "He told us not to believe things that are in the paper.

"He's committed to this team and he wants to make sure that we're playing as well as we can for as long as we can.

"So I think people are hearing rumours about different things and hearing rumours about us being in Australia next year and they're trying to put two and two together, obviously with his family still in New Zealand."

New Zealand international Harris was questioned over his own future amid speculation he may not be around next season.

"I honestly don't even know where that's come from. I haven't even put any thought into that report," Harris said.

"I'm just focusing on this week because honestly I don't know where that popped up."

Harris admitted it was a daily battle for the Warriors to remain on top of their mental health.

"I know it's a cliche but we're just taking it a day at a time or one week at a time because if we look too far ahead we'll lose sight of the wellbeing of our team," he said.

Australian Associated Press