I applaud Chanel Harris-Tavita's decision to walk away from league.
The Warriors half, with the league world at his fingertips, this week dropped a bombshell on the game while the media were scrambling to be the first to reveal his next move.
He turned down good money and a secure contract for freedom.
He had "future of the Warriors" written all over him.
He's been with the club since his late teens, he made his youth competition debut on his 17th birthday in 2016 and played his first NRL game in 2019. He's a stout defender, a gifted playmaker with a step and a boot, and he has the courage of a lion (he played through 40 minutes with a torn scrotum), with potential that has yet to be fully realised. He is an athlete around whom a dynasty could be built.
The Warriors would be mad to let him go, but the decision wasn't theirs to make. When it was revealed recently that they hadn't secured his signature beyond season's end, the bush telegraph went into overdrive. Was he offered enough? Did another club offer him more? Is it a poor reflection of the club's culture? Is it a surprise that another promising athlete is off to ply his trade in Australia, a route taken by many before him?
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The answer was simple. Harris-Tavita had fallen out of love with the game. He no longer had the internal drive to do what it takes to climb the mountain. He wants to write. Or take a walk. Or learn to cook. Or just be a human without the pressure of professional sport weighing him down.
Regardless of where his new league-free life takes him, he should be commended for making such a gutsy move at such a young age. He could name his price in the NRL or Super League. He was living his own dream and that of countless others. Yet he chose to release the shackles of a public sporting life.
The dream had dissipated. He was no longer finding happiness. Instead of taking the money and going through the motions, he listened to his internal voice and stepped away.
He made a decision that will expand him beyond being a sportsman.
He hasn't failed. He is taking a different path. He's exploring what it means to be alive. He is an example of personal growth, the spirit of adventure, freedom of choice.
If he decides to return to the game, I believe he'll come back twice the player he is.