Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck says goodbye to family again

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said goodbye to his young family again on Sunday, as the players departed for another season in Australia.

It’s unknown how long the team will be based on the other side of the Tasman for the 2021 NRL competition, but they are locked in for the first four rounds of the campaign and whether they’ll then come home will depend on whether there’s a trans-Tasman bubble.

By the end of last season Tuivasa-Sheck was the only player not with his family and he admitted it was a struggle for him to be away from his wife and two young children.

But unlike last time, the Warriors captain knows when he’ll see his family again.

“My family will be there in February, when we make our move to Terrigal, on the Central Coast,” Tuivasa-Sheck said at Auckland Airport on Sunday.

“That’s when most of the families and partners will join.”

Unlike last year, when there was so much uncertainty over what the Warriors players would have to deal with in Australia, for the upcoming season the players, staff and their families all know what they’re walking into.

“It’s definitely a lot easier this time around, because it’s planned,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“The families know when they are coming over, we’re all set, we’ve all put our minds to where we need to go to.

“Some of the boys are taking their partners and kids over with them today and some of them will come later on,” he added.

“My family will join me later in the season, so it’s all a lot better leaving today. You’re not saying goodbye and not knowing when you’re coming home.

“I’ve been saying to the boys, the angle we’ll be taking this time around is that it’s a blessing for us to be working at a time like this, to still have a job and provide.

“For the families to come along, it’s going to be a journey and I tell them to take it as an adventure and enjoy it.”

For preseason training before Christmas, some of the Warriors squad were based in Kiama, south of Wollongong, while the majority were in Auckland.

On Sunday evening in Tamworth, the 41 players in camp will come together for the first time.

During last season the players were regularly praised for the sacrifices they made to keep the NRL competition going.

But that’s not how the Warriors want to be looked at this year. They don’t want anyone to feel sorry for them.

“That’s the attitude we’re taking,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“We all know what we’re up to, it’s all planned out. We’re not going there just to make the numbers and for everyone to feel sorry for us.

“We don’t want to be looked down on by anyone, we want to go out there and earn it all.”

Early predictions by some Australian pundits again have the Warriors missing out on the top eight this year, but that’s perhaps not taking into account the benefit the club gets from having the players all grouped together, which last season proved to be an advantage.

“Being in Auckland, you can live anywhere and travel in, but when you’re over there in one bubble, you’ve got to get used to each other,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“You’ve got to get into the habit of connecting and being together. That’s what we did in Tamworth, it was just us in that bubble, so we all connected in some way and that showed on the footy field later in the season.

“Hopefully we can get that right from the start this time.”

Not only is Tuivasa-Sheck looking at the 2021 season as one where the Warriors can make the top eight, but he has raised expectations even higher.

“To go in with the attitude that we’re here to play, we’re here to contend for the ultimate prize,” he said.

“We don’t want anyone to give us any leeway, we don’t want anyone to look down on us, we’re here to earn it and try to get respect from everyone.”