Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will leave the club at the end of the season to try his hand at rugby union, the superstar fullback confirmed on Saturday.
The 2018 Dally M Player of the Year and two-time Dally M Fullback of the Year is aiming to secure a spot in the All Blacks side ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Tuivasa-Sheck addressed the media alongside Warriors CEO Cameron George and new coach Nathan Brown and confirmed he would be released from the final year of his contract in 2022.
“This will be my last year with the club and I will be moving to NZ rugby next year,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“The club has been supportive of me. I’m really grateful for that. 2021 is my focus. I’m excited for the year. Rugby is down the line and my focus is with the Warriors.
“It’s always been there, it’s no secret. Rugby has been the game I’ve grown up playing. It’s always been there in the background.
“To do it now in a time like this and have the club’s support, that’s why I chose it now.
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“There’s still a lot of goals I’m chasing [in league] and that’s what I’m trying to do this year with the club.
“We’ve got a great group here and coaching staff to do something special this year.”
Tuivasa-Sheck thanked the support of his Warriors teammates and said he was keen to make a lasting impression in his last year at the club before the move to rugby.
“They [teammates] have been awesome supporting me.
“I wish I could’ve announced it earlier and let them know properly. They’re keen to make it happen this year.
“You don’t just walk into a brand like the All Blacks.
“It’s tough because I’ve poured a lot into this club so hopefully we can finish off on a high.”
George said Tuiava-Sheck, whose leadership at the Warriors in 2020 earned him the Dally M Captain of the Year award, had earned the club’s blessing for the move.
“This ain’t a bombshell for the club,” George said.
“The important thing for us is to respectfully explore his options with Roger. He has earned this.”
Brown confirmed the club would be considering a recruitment from outside the club to fill the fullback role in 2022, while George said there remained the opportunity for Tuivasa-Sheck to return to the Warriors in future.