Editorial: Beauty in return of the Beast to Warriors wing

More than that though, Vatuvei's place in the team signals that the veteran has put his recent trials behind him. Photo / Brett Phibbs
More than that though, Vatuvei's place in the team signals that the veteran has put his recent trials behind him. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The return of Manu Vatuvei to the playing field today is doubly welcome. The stuttering Warriors sorely need the hulking winger's presence to lift their confidence after a run of lacklustre performances. More than that though, Vatuvei's place in the team signals that the veteran has put his recent trials behind him. Last weekend, the 30-year-old candidly admitted that he came close to giving the game away to protect his family after a social media storm erupted.

His children, he revealed, had been bullied at school after Vatuvei came under intense criticism for being involved with a group of players who mixed prescription pills with energy drinks in a foolish late-night escapade.

As a senior club figure, Vatuvei should have known better. But he fronted to his behaviour, only to become the target of online abusers with nothing better to do. The forlorn father of four took a week off as he approached "breaking point" and described how his children came home from school crying and upset.

His heartfelt remarks were a reminder of the spotlight on sports stars when they drop their standards.

Time out from the pressures of playing, and the opportunity for a few precious days with his young family, seem to have cleared his mind. The return of the Beast should thrill his fans and threaten his opponents. For those who follow the Warriors, the sight of Vatuvei flashing his golden smile after - hopefully - another touchdown will be a sign that the team, and their talismanic attacker, are back on track.

- NZ Herald

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