Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Warriors plan to unleash Tuivasa-Sheck

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo / Getty
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo / Getty

To get more out of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the Warriors need to start using him less.

It might sound disingenuous, as he is one of the most talented attacking players in the game, but the 22-year-old hasn't been well used in the first four rounds.

At times, it has been like watching a Ferrari on a suburban street: the power and speed is there, but the top gears aren't reached.

Tuivasa-Sheck has delivered plenty. He has topped 200m in every game and leads the NRL in running metres, but the right balance has yet to be struck.

At the Roosters, who the Warriors face tomorrow, coach Trent Robinson got the best out of Tuivasa-Sheck. He still delivered a mountain of kick return metres but was also invariably in the right place at the end of the set to help deliver the knockout blow.

There have been too many hit-ups into traffic at the Warriors, dulling his impact for the crucial moments later.

It's something both player and coach are aware of as they look to fine-tune his game.

"It's the way he likes to play. He always wants to be involved," said Warriors coach Andrew McFadden. "He feels good about working hard and that's his strength.

"He carries the ball. But sometimes it is too much because it limits his impact as a strike weapon.

"That's something we are working with him at the moment because, when we have got guys like Manu [Vatuvei] and Solomone [Kata] who can do that tough work, maybe that is an opportunity for him to not have that extra carry."

Tuivasa-Sheck is one of the fittest players and hardest trainers at the club. He's driven towards physical improvement and even his Kiwis team-mates in England last year would stop their workouts to watch his chin-up routine, where he claps his hands above the bar.

But Tuivasa-Sheck is also looking for the right recipe to pace himself through a match.

"The amount of work was one of my biggest issues and the balance where I still need to get it right," he said. "I enjoy carrying the ball so much but I need to save some energy for when we get to the good ball and try to get more attacking shape."

Tuivasa-Sheck admitted he struggled at Suncorp Stadium in round three. "I definitely felt that in the Broncos game. In the last 15 minutes, we needed Shaun [Johnson] and I to step up. It was 14-12 for a long time and we needed some players to break through but I had done a lot of work early and that gassed me."

Tuivasa-Sheck has a key role tomorrow. He'll need to provide support for his wingers, who will be targeted as the Roosters try to avoid giving their former No 1 kick return chances.

- NZ Herald

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