After the events of Friday night, there can't be much more doubt about the trajectory of Warriors half Chanel-Harris Tavita.

There is a long, long way to go, but the Warriors rookie is the real deal.

His performance in the 24-16 upset of the Sea Eagles was top drawer, his second impressive display in the space of eight days for the Auckland club.

He was involved in most of the best offensive moments during the match, as well as making his mark on defence with a couple of stinging hits.


It's the kind of performance you would expect from a hardened veteran, not a 20-year-old starting his seventh NRL match.

But that's what sets Harris-Tavita apart, compared with the other young halves prospects at the Warriors over the last decade. He doesn't shrink from the spotlight, isn't overawed by the NRL and can find his best when it matters.

It hasn't been a smooth road this season, but he has coped with every challenge.

After a long pre-season audition, he lost his battle with Adam Keighran for the halves spot alongside Blake Green.

Chanel Harris-Tavita. Photo / Photosport
Chanel Harris-Tavita. Photo / Photosport

It wasn't easy to take, but the Pakuranga junior bided his time, and made a winning debut in round four.

An injury to Green meant Harris-Tavita had to then take the reins for the next three games, before Kodi Nikorima's arrival in early May sent him back to reserve grade.

But Harris-Tavita didn't sulk, and impressed in cameo roles against the Broncos and Sharks, before a best on-field display in last week's defeat to the Raiders.

Friday's performance was the best yet, exhibiting sound decision making, clutch execution and a strong physical presence.


A precise kick set up the Warriors' first try, then slick hands sent Ken Maumalo across for his second.

His defensive intent also caught the eye; he stopped second rower Curtis Sironen close to the line with a solid body shot, then later sent Tom Trbojevic flying as the Manly fullback eyed a gap in the defensive line.

"Twice [on Friday] he flew out of the line and made contact with big collisions," said Green. "Anyone who does that in your team encourages everyone else to get off the line and do the same thing, particularly when it's from a young kid."

Harris-Tavita was also happy to take the initiative, with more kicks and passes than veteran Green.

"One thing I've admired about Chanel's performances all year is that he hasn't stayed back and waited for the dominant half, [Blake] Green, to call the shots or make plays," said Kearney.

"He has stepped forward himself and to me that's a real positive sign. [So] I didn't hesitate in putting him in. Kodi [Nikorima] possibly could have played, but the way the kid has been going, it gave me confidence in making the decision early in the week, that he was going to get a run and I'd give Kodi another week."


There may be more twists and turns for Harris-Tavita, as he could be back on the interchange next week, if Nikorima is cleared fit to play against the Roosters next Sunday and used in the halves.

That would be tough, but the level headed Harris-Tavita will accept it as part of his journey, where there is now no question about his final destination.