Here are the three big take-aways from the NZ Warriors' win over Newcastle Knights in their 2017 NRL opener yesterday ...

1. Roger rises to the occasion

In 80 minutes on Sunday, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck answered some of the questions about how he would handle the captaincy.

It wasn't an easy situation for the rookie leader, with his team-mates making mistakes all around him, and senior men like Simon Mannering and Issac Luke leaving the field in the second half.

But Tuivasa-Sheck never faltered, and always looked like he wanted the ball and wanted to create something. His slashing kick return in the 72nd minute, after he scooped up a grubber near his own goal posts, was something special and probably the key play of the match.


Tuivasa-Sheck also set up Solomone Kata's first-half try with a bullet pass, carried for almost 250 metres and constantly looked threatening on the edge.

There will be tougher tests, but it's an encouraging start for the young captain.

2. Sweet and sour
While portions of Sunday's match looked like the "same old Warriors", with brilliance mixed with baffling errors, there were some positive signs.

As coach Stephen Kearney pointed out, the team did well to drag themselves back late in the second half, when Newcastle had all the momentum. And fans have to accept that the young players in the squad will make mistakes, but they are worth investing in and have plenty of promise.

But Sunday was also a timely lesson in staying mentally focused - there was a hint of over-celebration after the two tries just before halftime and the Warriors clocked off in the third quarter of the match.

The Warriors forwards also struggled to dominate a modest Knights pack and will need to lift in the coming weeks.

3. Hingano handles the heat
Kieran Foran may have to wait. While the former Manly premiership winner is expected to return in Round Three against the Bulldogs, Ata Hingano gave a reminder of his class and potential against the Knights.

The young playmaker was impressive in his first NRL start and looked like he belongs at this level. He showed some clever touches and provided the assist for Hoffman's match winning try.

While Hingano made a few errors, the 19-year-old also grabbed a crucial one-on-one strip midway through the first half, and combined well with Shaun Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck throughout the match. ​